John Swanson

John Swanson was born in Sioux City, Iowa, on October 12, 1917. He received his B.A. in physical chemistry in 1940 and a Ph.D. (Hon.) in 1972, both from Morningside College. He also received a M.S. (Hon.) degree from Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin in 1982.

Swanson worked as a graduate student in Iowa State College from 1940-1941. He married his high school sweetheart, Joyce Weed, and moved to the Institute of Paper Chemistry (IPC), Appleton, Wisconsin where he worked from 1941 until his retirement in 1982. From 1945-46 he was also a lecturer in chemistry at Lawrence College (now University).

Swanson joined IPC as Technical Assistant in 1941 and quickly rose to become group leader of surface and colloid chemistry (1953); Group Leader in Physical Chemistry (1956); Chairman Physical Chemistry Section (1964) and was Director, Division of Natural Materials and Systems (from 1969 until his retirement in 1982). He was involved in teaching, research, and consultation, and excelled in all three.

Swanson made his greatest contributions as an educator. His surface-science and colloid-chemistry courses were rated highly by students for their practical applications of chemical principles. At one point he was so successful in attracting students to work under his direction that the faculty at IPC adapted a rule that limited the number of MS students any one professor could advise to two per year.

During his tenure at IPC, Swanson guided at least 30 Ph.D. students; many more Masters students; published over 60 technical papers; over 200 technical reports; TAPPI monograph on internal sizing; chapters in books and gave invited lectures in USA and many countries abroad. His IPC lecture notes, “Colloid Chemistry in Papermaking Materials” were published as a book under his name in 2003, compiled and edited by his ex-student Prof. Gerard Ring.

In 1972 Swanson was named Outstanding Educator of America. He was elected TAPPI Fellow in 1973 and received 1974 TAPPI’s Research and Development Division Award. He has 11 patents to his credit.

Swanson died on August 4, 2004 at the age of 86 in Green Valley, Arizona. He was preceded in death by his wife Joyce, who died in 1992.

Johann Gutenberg

Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg was born in Mainz, Germany on ca. June 24, 1398 as the youngest son of a patrician (aristocrat) family of Friele Gensfleisch zur Laden and his second wife Else Wyrich. In 1411 they migrated to Strassburg for political reasons because of an uprising against the patricians. Gutenberg studied at the University of Erfurt, Erfurt, Germany. He was a goldsmith and a printer who introduced modern book printing.

Gutenberg invented a method of printing from movable type in the mid-1400s which was used without significant change until the 20th century as the so-called letterpress printing process. The elements of his invention consisted of a mold, with punch-stamped matrices (metal prisms used to mold the face of the type) with which type could be case precisely and in large quantities; a type-metal alloy (lead, tin, antimony); a new press and a smudge-resistant oil-based ink (lampblack, turpentine, linseed-oil, and egg-whites). None of these features existed in the earlier printing methods.

In 1455 Gutenberg published his 42-line Bible, commonly known as the Gutenberg Bible. About 180 were printed, most on paper and some on vellum. The printing technology spread quickly and news and books began to travel across Europe much faster than before with enormous impact on Western Civilization. Because of the significantly increasing demand for printing material, Gutenberg’s invention hugely stimulated the growth of paper mills all over Europe.

Typographic printing is a European invention. The Chinese and the Koreans came the nearest to developing this form of printing, by 1040 and by 1300, respectively, but did not progress beyond primitive sand casting of their characters which did not lend themselves to mass production techniques. The lack of an alphabet of a limited number of letters made the mass production of types impractical.

Gutenberg died in Mainz, Germany, on February 3, 1468.

Jasper Mardon

Jasper Mardon was born in Exeter, England in 1921. From 1939 to 1946 he served in the British army in World War II. Following the war Mardon received his B.A. (1949) and MA (1951) from Selwyn College, Cambridge University, England. In 1997 he was awarded D.Sc. (Hon.) degree by the Board of Graduate Studies. It is the highest degree Cambridge University confers in science and engineering but is rarely awarded to a person in industry.

In 1974, Mardon formed Omni Continental, a process consulting company specializing in the pulp and paper industry, worldwide. He pioneered many advances in improving paper machine operations, especially the runnability. Examples of his pioneering work include the tapered flow manifold for headboxes, use of high speed photography to analyze wet-end disturbances, frequency analysis for pulsation diagnostics on paper machines, and the use of optical lasers to correct alignment problems on coaters. Omni also developed and provided training seminars for operating crews and management of a paper mill.

Mardon was a founding member of the International Association of Scientific Papermakers. Four awards and endowments have been established in his name by TAPPE, PAPTAC, PITA, and APPITA. He published 6 books and over—technical papers / reports, including some path-breaking studies in pressing, drying, and calendaring. He also has many patents to his credit.

Mardon is the recipient of over 20 national / international awards and honors. The honor “Fellow” has been bestowed upon him by the Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI), the Instrument Society of America, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and the City and Guilds Institute of London. He is also the recipient of the PITA Silver Jubilee Medal (1988); TAPPI’s highest technical award, the Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal (1990); and the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association’s John Bates Gold Medal (1990).

Jasper Mardon passed away in Vancouver, BC, Canada in 1997.

Henry Frambach

Colonel Johan “Henry” August Frambach was born in Herkimer City, New York on November 22, 1840. He was the second of four children of German immigrant parents, Charles Augustus J. and Maria Elisabeth (Ader) Frambach. His mother died in 1846 and father in 1854. The children were adopted by Bernard and Francis Stoveken of Milwaukee.

Frambach’s formal education ended in 1857. In 1858 when the Civil War broke out, he enlisted in the 61st regiment of the Illinois Infantry and later he was recruited into the Secret Service and served as a spy. In 1863 he was appointed Chief of the Secret Service in the Department of Arkansas and promoted to Colonel. He married Fannie Claspill in 1865.

Frambach was one of the most influential persons in establishing the Fox River Valley as a center for papermaking in the United States. In 1872, Frambach joined his brother, John Stoveken, to rebuild and convert Stoveken’s burnt flour mill in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, into a paper mill. Under Frambach’s technical leadership, the rebuilt paper mill (named Eagle Mill) incorporated the new wood grinding pulping process that had been invented by Friedrich Keller in Germany. From 1877-1880, Frambach owned and operated the Menasha Paper Pulp Company and then returned to Eagle Paper Mill until it was destroyed by fire. He rebuilt the mill and renamed it first, Frambach Paper, then Union Pulp Company, serving as Vice-President and Manager.

In 1884 he sold his interests in Union Pulp Company and organized the Badger Paper Company which was the largest mill in Kaukauna at the time. Badger also built a mill in Quinnesec Falls, now known as Niagara, Wisconsin. In 1987 the Badger mill caught fire and was destroyed. Rather than rebuild the mill, Frambach chose to build a paper mill in Cheboygan, Michigan. He served as President of Cheboygan Paper Company until he sold the operation in 1916. He has at least 10 patents to his credit.

Frambach retired and moved to Los Angeles, California, where he died on March 10, 1921.

Friedrich Gottlob Keller

Friedrich Keller was born in Hainichen, Saxony, Germany, on June 27, 1816. He spent his childhood and youth working for his father as a weaver and leaf-binder but was not happy. He was interested in machines and kept with him an “idea book”, where he noted different types of machines.

Based on the 18th century French scientist Rene Antoine Ferchault de Reaumur’s article that paper could be made from trees, the 25 year old Keller, in 1841, noted down in his idea book a wood-grinding machine that could extract fibers from trees for use in papermaking. In 1844, he produced an experimental machine and made a sheet of wood-containing paper. He sent a sample to his government, asking for financial support to develop commercial machines and support further research. His appeal was rejected.

Keller then sold his invention to a papermaker, Heinrich Voelter, for about USD$300. A patent was granted to Keller in 1845 in both Keller’s and Voelter’s names. Voelter began production on a larger scale, and in 1848, the first of several wood grinding machines was produced. In 1852 the renewal of the patent came due, but Keller did not have the money to renew his part of the patent. Therefore, Voelter was the only parent holder and the work and subsequent considerable profit did not come to Keller, leaving him unemployed and penniless.

The first groundwood pulp was produced commercially in the US in 1867. In 1868 the first issue of newspaper based on wood was published in New York but the German “Staats-Zeitung” and in 1873 by the New York Times.

In recognition for his invention, Keller received several awards including the “Merit of Invention” from German government. In addition to his greatest invention of the wood-grinding machine. Keller also invented a tree diameter measuring device, a machine for producing buttons and an apparatus for sharpening pens.

Friedrich Keller died in Krippen, Germany on November 8, 1895.