Douglas Wahren

Douglas Wahren was born in Norrköping, Sweden on March 12, 1934. He received his Masters (1956) and Ph.D. (1964) in Mechanical Engineering, both from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.

After graduation, he worked with many prestigious institutions including Beloit Corporation, U.S.A (1964); STFI, Stockholm, Sweden (1969-73); AB Karlstad Mekaniska and Werkstad, (KMW), Sweden (1974-79); Institute of Paper Chemistry, Appleton, Wisconsin, U.S.A (1979-87); STORA Tech., Sweden1987-96); and in 1996 founded his own consulting firm “The Profit Professor” (1996). Douglas Wahren was a man full of ideas. 

Wahren’s excellent work on three-dimensional fiber networks has led to the development of modern hydraulic paper machine head boxes. His research has led to a greater understanding of sheet formation from “fiber dispersion” to “Floc dispersion” and has been the basis for many subsequent wet-end innovations such as high consistency forming. 

Wahren’s research has led to other notable achievements such IMPULSE DRYING (1970), a process involving more intense drying rather than trying to further the size of the dryer section. STFI’s Impulse technology program was inaugurated by the King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf with Wahren as the guest of honor. 

Wahren’s SSVL Project report with James Davis (1981) is an excellent resource for the closed paper mill concept for saving energy and water. Wahren holds seventeen (17) patents, and has published three (3) books and at least fourteen technical papers. In recognition of his significant achievements, he was awarded the TAPPI Gunderson Nicholson Gold Medal (1998), TAPPI Research & development Research Div. Award and William H. Aiken Prize (1990); TAPPI and Board Mfg. Div. Award and Harris O. Ware Prize (1988); Swedish Royal Academy of Engineering Science Award (1987); TAPPI Fellow (1981) and the Honorary title of professor at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology (1973). He married his childhood friend, Inger, in 1957.

Wahren caught polio in 1949 at the age of fifteen, was unconscious for six weeks and found himself paralyzed from the neck down. His treatment with penicillin, strenuous physical therapy, positive outlook and sheer determination helped him get better. He was a member of TAPPI Paper Physics Committee and Sigma Xi.

Wahren died on December 27, 2011 in Täby, Sweden where his wife still resides. He had two children: Daughter Caroline who lives in Täby; Son lives in Waterville, Ohio, U.S.A.