When Georgia chemist Charles Holmes Herty found a way to make quality paper from pine trees in 1932, he also founded an industry that brought much-needed jobs to the depression-crippled south. Paper producers had deemed the plentiful pine too gummy—until Herty's Savannah Pulp and Paper Laboratory wrote a new chapter in the ancient craft inspired by insects who built paper nests while dinosaurs roamed the earth. At its root, however, the papermaking process remained the same: the bonding of cellulose, a polymer whose long chains support plant cell walls.
Herty Advanced Materials Development Center
Charles Holmes Herty (1867-1938)—Georgia chemist, educator and advocate for the development of U.S. industries—founded and directed this laboratory, originally housed in a warehouse at 512 W. River Street provided by the Savannah Electric and Power Company. Herty's research proved that valuable products such as newsprint, white paper and rayon fibers could be made from young, fast-growing southern pine trees.
Courtesy U.S. Library of Congress.