A Brief History of the Use of Plywood

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Plywood has been popular since the late 1800’s and is used extensively in building and other projects. While it may be inexpensive, it’s very strong for wooden building material. Throughout the years, plywood products Melbourne have changed and evolved as technology has progressed. The first versions of plywood ever came from ancient Egypt, but since rotary saws only came into use in the late 19th century, they weren’t able to cut them into the thin wafers that we use today.

In China about 1,000 years ago, a form of shaved wood that was glued together was used to build furniture. Another early form of plywood was used in England and France through the 17th and 18th centuries. There are even historians that believe Russia had their own version in use well before the 20th century. In the Victorian era, plywood came into popularity in furniture building and other household items. Veneers were commonly used in Victorian furniture which consisted of thin slices of wood that are glued to the surface of the furniture or household item that is bade with a base of plywood. During this time, the material was sneered at by some as being cheap due to the negative connotations associated with the term.

While some may have looked down on the versatile material, there were many in the world that saw the potential it had. The prototype for a pneumatically-operated subway system, including the cars, was built almost entirely out of plywood by inventor Alfred Ely Beach. During the 19th century, one of the heaviest users of plywood was the Singer Corporation. The sewing machine manufacturer used plywood for both the sewing machine’s table and case.

Plywood became popular for many more advanced uses, especially for aircraft purposes. Plywood is lighter than most other wood materials and exceptionally flexible for its strength. Even Amelia Earhart‘s plane that flew across the Atlantic had a fuselage made from plywood. During and after World War I, many militaries began to use plywood for their military aircraft. With plywood being such an important part of aviation, people began to think of it in relation to technology rather than being lower class. Plywood had a boom in popularity across the world.

During the depression, plywood started to be used extensively in the building of homes. The inexpensive material was easy to assemble even for people building their own affordable homes. In the 30’s, an avant-garde homemade from Plywood was built in Las Angeles that garnered interest around the world. While inexpensive homes were still being built with plywood, they began being used in mass-produced and luxury homes as well.

The coming years would show an increase in durability of the material as new methods and glues were created to produce it. To this day, plywood is still used in many different applications and they are discovering new ones all the time. Plywood has played a vital role in history and invention in ways that we still benefit from today.


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