Karl F. Landegger was truly a global pulp & paper industry leader. He was born in Vienna, Austria in January 1905. His early career was in Austria, where he was president and owner of Welser Paper Factory from 1930-1939. He then moved to England where he was president of Abergavenny Paper Mill in 1939-1940. He obtained control of Parsons & Whittemore, Inc. in New York in the early 1940s and subsequently obtained control of Lyddon & Co. Ltd. in the early 1950s. He developed the Parsons & Whittemore – Lyddon organization into one of world-wide stature.
In 1953 he launched the “packaged mill” concept providing all services for developing and operating pulp & paper plants in developing countries. This resulted in completion of 60 plants in 28 countries all based on using local raw materials including a variety of non-wood fibers such as straw, bagasse, reeds, grasses, bamboo, esparto, abaca, etc. as well as various wood species. He encouraged governments and private investors to see the rewards of having their own paper industries in these countries, many of which were unable to import adequate paper to satisfy their needs. He arranged the foreign financing required and even invested in many of the projects himself to facilitate the establishment of these plants’ followed by having his organization carry out the successful construction and operation of the mills and then turning them over to local owners.
In order to supply a major part of the machinery for these plants, he obtained control of Black Clawson in 1951 and built it into one of the world’s leading pulp and paper machinery companies. Many new products were introduced including the invention of the twin wire paper machine, the first paper machine over 300 inches in width, pressure screening, the Pandia digester for quick continuous digestion of non-wood fibers, and major improvements in waste paper recycling machinery.
He also founded and held controlling interest in five large market pulp mills, including Prince Albert Pulp, in Saskatchewan, St. Anne Nackawic Pulp & Paper in New Brunswick, Alabama River Pulp in Claiborne, Alabama, La Cellulose D’Aquitane in France and La Cellulose des Ardennes in Belgium.
Mr. Landegger contributed greatly toward the development of efficient pulp and paper industries in developing countries. He furnished equipment for the first mill to pulp eucalyptus in Brazil. He received decorations from the governments of India, Ethiopia, Tunisia, and Austria for his work in developing pulp & paper companies in those countries. As president of Parsons & Whittemore, Inc. he was presented by the Secretary of Commerce with the Presidents “E” Flag in 1963 for an outstanding contribution to the Export Expansion Program of the U.S.A. He was a founding member of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) of the United Nations and of its ICP (Industrial Cooperative Program) in Rome.
Mr. Landegger was a very private person who went to considerable lengths to shield himself from personal publicity. He died 1976. His son, Carl C. Landegger was inducted into the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame in 2003. His son George Landegger, Chairman of the Board of Parsons & Whittemore, is also carrying on the family tradition with two family pulp mills, Alabama River and Alabama Pine Pulp.