JF Ptak Science Books Post 2532
Many years ago I found this Menominee County (Michigan) history1, produced for grade school consumption--advanced consumption, I should say, in spite of its initial homespun appearance. So in the midst of many maps and good content, this oversized double-brick of a pamphlet (9x13" and 500 pages) I found in the middle of it a section on logging--which was a major industry there in the 19th and into some of the 20th century--and in that section there were a number of pages of unexpected diagrams and drawings of log brands.
They were unexpected right up until the point I saw them, and then their use and necessity was immediately obvious. I mean, there were dozens and hundreds of logging companies, and even though they were working in their restricted areas which were at some point distantly removed from other firms, many of them used the same river to transport their logs to the mills downstream. The loggers would cut the trees, and then get them to the river or a hill leading down to the river, and then into the water hundreds and thousands of trees would go. Multiply that x-times, and you have a water-borne mobile horizontal forest. The log brands/marks would allow the final dispensation of the tree to be counted in favor of the company's brand. I just never thought about it before, but now that I'm introduced to it the idea is very sharp.
I've reproduced the log brands from the Menominee history book, below.
Logs on the river, not moving:
[Source: National Park Service, http://www.nps.gov/sacn/learn/historyculture/stories.htm]