Excerpt from Fire Control Notes, Vol. 3: A Periodical Devoted to the Technique of Forest Fire Control; January, 1939
Previous to 1933 lookout towers purchased on the basis of plans and specifications were of structural steel.
About that time there were coming into use in this country, timber connectors which, in comparison with ordinary bolted or spiked joints, greatly facilitated the transmission of stress through joints in timber structures. The connectors as used in Forest Service lookout-tower construction consist of metal rings which are placed between two timbers, the connecting bolt passing through the center of the ring. The ring, with half its width projecting into the contacting face of each timber, transmits the stress from one timber to the other. These connectors are commonly used in CCC portable camp buildings.
The development of the timber connectors and resultant increased possibilities for economical use of timber led to its consideration for lookout towers, a matter in which the lumber industry and the Forest Service were much interested. An attempt to purchase towers showed that the industry was not prepared to produce prefabricated timber in competition with the steel industry, where prefabrication was a long established practice. However, in view of the Forest Service's interest in developing the economical utilization of woods, eight towers were purchased on a specification restricted to timber, as an experimental project. Reports of this project indicated that fabrication was decid edly defective, causing long delays during erection. As a result, tower bids were again limited to steel.
Pressure on the Forest Service to consider timber gradually in creased as the timber industry improved its methods of prefabrication and the large purchases of towers in connection With the CCC program so stimulated this pressure that the subject was reopened.
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