20th Century, Business, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Science

An Invention that Sticks

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1925
After twenty-three years of creating sandpaper and other industrial abrasives, the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M) moves into a new market with its invention of masking tape. Of 3M’s 55,000 products today, the best known are probably masking tape, Scotch Tape, Thinsulate, and Post-it Notes.*

Below is a condensed history of 3M in the years that led up to the invention of masking tape.
“William L. McKnight joined Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. in 1907 as an assistant bookkeeper. He quickly rose through the company, becoming president in 1929 and chairman of the board in 1949. He is known for shaping the company’s culture of innovation and collaboration. In 1910, major investor Lucius Ordway established 3M’s headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota, where it remains today. We created the world’s first waterproof sandpaper, which reduced airborne dust during automobile manufacturing, in the early 1920s. A second major milestone occurred in 1925 when Richard G. Drew, a young lab assistant, invented masking tape — an innovative step toward diversification and the first of many Scotch® Pressure-Sensitive Tapes.”**

But what of the man, Richard Gurley Drew, who actually developed masking tape?
“Scotch tape was invented in 1930 by banjo-playing 3M engineer Richard Drew. Scotch tape was the world’s first transparent adhesive tape. Drew also invented the first masking tape in 1925 — a 2-inch-wide tan paper tape with a pressure sensitive adhesive backing.

In 1923, Drew joined the 3M company located in St. Paul, Minnesota. At the time, 3M only made sandpaper. Drew was product testing 3M’s Wetordry brand sandpaper at a local auto body shop, when he noticed that auto painters were having a hard time making clean dividing lines on two-color paint jobs. Richard Drew was inspired to invent the world’s first masking tape in 1925, as a solution to the auto painters’ dilemma.

The brandname Scotch came about while Drew was testing his first masking tape to determine how much adhesive he needed to add. The body shop painter became frustrated with the sample masking tape and exclaimed, “Take this tape back to those Scotch bosses of yours and tell them to put more adhesive on it!” The name was soon applied to the entire line of 3M tapes.”

Good G-d, it’s easy to see Your image in a well-rounded man like Richard Gurley Drew! We give thanks for his scientific persistence, his love of rowdy banjo playing, and a good looking two-toned car! Will You bless him and his literal and figurative heirs to reflect so practically Your creative Image?

In particular, we give thanks that he did not take offense when his product failed at the auto shop. He did not not take offense when the workman used a racial slur “Scotch”, (extremely thrifty or cheap), to malign both his product and his company. He listened to their needs beyond their words, and responded.

We give You praise for this image! May we learn from the patience of this inventor to reserve judgment of another’s lack of tactfulness, or use of salty language. May we open the gift of criticism we receive, and look past the ugly wrapping paper!

Will You give Minnesotans past, present, and future this same humility to accept criticism? Will You forgive the harshness of our words even if spoken with good intent? When and where we have used racial slurs we have not only stereotyped each other, but Your Image invention of those people groups. Have mercy: then, now, and into our future.

We thank You today for 3M! We thank You for its dedication to innovation through nurturing the inspirations of its employees. We thank You for its model of balancing collaborative and individual creativity. We thank You for its model of relational management, decades ahead of its time, that saw their employees as whole people. They saw that when Richard Drew played the banjo and was excited by a showy car that he would be a better scientist.

In response, may we ever be grateful for their reflection of Your Image in this, and foster wholeness in our business! will You forgive us where we have only seen our employees as faceless “human resources”? Will You forgive our lack of humility when and where we have lost that the spirit of invention exists to better serve our fellow man, and indirectly to serve You? Amen!

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ ESV Matthew 25:40
…Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ ESV Matthew 25:45****

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**See “A Rich History of Ideas” to peruse the many inventions created by 3M that have changed the way we live. http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/3M-Company/Information/Resources/History/
***See “The History of Scotch Tape” by Mary Bellis https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-scotch-tape-1992403
****http://biblehub.com/matthew/25-45.htm

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20th Century, History, Logging, Minnesota

Sawmill Workers Strike

Unknown

1917
Workers at the Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company sawmill, the largest in the world, strike for higher pay and safer working conditions. Organizers from the radical International Workers of the World spread the strike to the logging camps before police break it up with arrests and force.*

Minnesota’s history of logging in this era is rife with irony. On one hand, it is a shining example of cooperation and productivity.
“The VRL Lumber Co. was the largest on earth producing on average a million board feet of lumber a day seven days a week. Production on such a vast scale required an enormous supply of virgin white and red pine harvesting a total of four billion board feet over a 20 year period.**

On the other hand it was pitifully negligent in its care for its workers’ health and well-being.
“Toilet facilities were primitive in the extreme. Privies were no more than shallow, open pits with a roof and some poles for seats. Excrement was only rarely treated with lime or even covered with dirt. State inspectors repeatedly and despairingly observed that “there seems to prevail an idea that toilet facilities in a camp are superfluous.””
Safety precautions were ignored, too. Engaged in strenuous manual labor with lethal tools in frigid weather, lumberjacks had an extremely high accident rate. Although immediate first aid was therefore the jacks’ greatest medical need, a survey of logging
camps several years before the strike revealed that “in none . . . were there any facilities for giving first aid to the injured.”**

Below is the an eye-witness testimony regarding the ‘jacks accommodations.
“Prospects of a major IWW walkout were enhanced, however, by the working and living conditions of the lumberjacks. Typically, jacks lived in rough-cut lumber shanties. A bunkhouse 30 feet by 80 feet by 11 feet would house anywhere from 60 to 90 men in rows of double-decked wooden bunks lining each wall. Each individual bed with its mattress of loose straw slept two men. Each jack received two or three woolen blankets from the camp (sheets were unknown). The turnover was so high that four or five men might easily use the same blankets each season.

Virtually all the beds, blankets, and men were infested with lice. In 1914 inspectors from the State Department of Labor and Industries observed that “the conditions under which the men were housed made it impossible for men to keep their bodies free from vermin.”

Bunkhouses were ventilated only by doors at each cud and one or two small skylights in the roof. One or perhaps two iron stoves, kept fired all night, provided heat. The poor ventilation compounded sanitary problems.

The men worked 11-hour days in the cold northern Minnesota winter and generally wore two or three sets of underwear in addition to their outer garments. The combination of wet snow and hard labor soaked the jacks’ clothes every day, but the men were without washing facilities either for themselves or what they wore.

Since most of them put on all the clothing they owned, dozens of sets of wet-from-sweat clothes hung near the stove every night to dry for the next day. The steam from the clothing joined the stench of tightly-packed, unwashed bodies in the bunkhouse, prompting one Wobbly to comment that “the bunk houses in which the lumber jacks sleep are enough to gag a skunk.” Testimony of Jay Hall; Sixteenth Biennial Report, p. 117; Boose, in International Socialist Review, 14:414**

“Chronology
December 24, 1916
Timber mill workers at the Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company draw up a list of demands.
December 26, 1916
Workers present their demands to the superintendent of manufacturing, Chester R. Rogers.
December 27, 1916
Mill workers decide to go ahead with the strike.
December 28, 1916
Pickets begin at the company’s gates. One thousand workers go on strike. Flying squads (IWW messengers) head north to lumber camps.
January 1, 1917
One thousand lumberjacks walk out of the camps.
January 2, 1917
A thousand more lumberjacks strike. Lumberjacks are banished from Virginia, Minnesota.
February 1, 1917
The lumber strike is officially called off.”***

So, what was the aftermath of this strike, and how did it improve the lives of lumberjacks and those that worked the sawmill? Below is an excerpt from Wobbly (IWW) records:

“The mill workers returned to their jobs in the last week of January. The lumberjacks held on a bit longer and neither the Virginia and Rainy Lake Company nor the International Lumber Company was able to reopen logging operations until February. What remained of the Wobbly lumber strike leadership gathered in Duluth. On February 1 the leaders called off the strike, claiming a partial victory by way of improved conditions.
Most companies did attend to their camps better after the strike. The ILC bought new blankets for the men and raised slightly the base pay. The quality of food seems to have been improved, too, in most camps. In 1917 the Virginia and Rainy Lake Company spent nearly 20 per cent more per man for food than earlier. Wartime price inflation accounted for part, but not most, of the increase.”****

What say You of this event and the broken relationships between loggers, their representatives in the IWW, and the V.R.L. company managers and International Lumber Company (ILC) owners? We invite Your timeless knowledge, and graceful judgment into their circumstance Ruach Ha Kodesh. How do we begin to make right this wrong from Your perspective? How have we offended You and the principles of Your kingdom?

You have said clearly through the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians:
“Do I say this from a human perspective? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Isn’t He actually speaking on our behalf? Indeed, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they should also expect to share in the harvest.” I Corinthians 9:8-10

We acknowledge, first, our offense to You through the judgments of Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company and the ILC. We offend You as employers when we do not provide a Sabbath rest. We offend You when do not provide for the lives and safety of Your workers. We offend You when we fail to provide food, clothing, and adequate shelter for those in our care. We offend You when profit becomes an idol that forgets the contributions of the employees to the health of the corporation. Will You forgive VRL Co. and the International Lumber Company in this era, and create right relationships that lead to blessing in our timber industry’s management both in the present and future?

Similarly, we have offended You through the judgments of the lumberjacks and sawmill workers towards the VRL Company’s owners and ILC managers. We offend You when we do not take a Sabbath where it is offered. We offend You when we expect our employer to solve our unmentioned problems, and fail to be proactive in our own needs. We offend You as workers through the misbelief that profit is a given, therefore, the company has unlimited resources to spend on labor. Will You forgive the lumberjacks and millworkers of VRL Co. and ILC of this era, and create new
interconnections between laborers, labor unions, and executives of our logging industry that lead to present and future blessings for all?

Above all, we especially ask for the release of the victims of the injustices of this era from the prisons of their counter-judgments. We know that there are those who lost life and limb. We know that there are those who were circumstantially hemmed in who felt they had no choice but to submit to abusive work conditions to survive.

Will You forgive those who were ensnared through the maintenance of offense towards the abuses of Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company and the ILC? Will You give them gifts of grace that look to You for justice, while not resubmitting themselves to abuse? Will You take these judgments and counter-judgments up, out, and onto the Cross of Christ? Will You remove the log from the eyes of all in the logging industry?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**http://monarchtreepublishing.com/Ilets/1916-Lumbering-Strike.pdf

***Chronology and an excellent brief summary by Anja Witek can be viewed at this MNopedia link. http://www.mnopedia.org/event/iww-lumber-strike-1916-1917

****https://iww.org/node/1524

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19th Century, Culture, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, State Government, war

U.S.-Dakota War, Second Strike on New Ulm Aug 23, 1862

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In the morning, the Dakota soldiers surround the town of New Ulm; the fighting soon moves into town. Using outlying buildings for cover, the Dakota fire on the town’s defenders from windows and doorways. Taoyateduta’s (Little Crow) men set fire to buildings near the river. The smoke causes panic and confusion, but the defenders hold their ground. After hours of fighting the defenders make a desperate charge at the Dakota, even setting fire to the building the Dakota are using as cover. At sunset the Dakota retreat, leaving 32 townspeople dead and more than 60 wounded. More than a third of the town lies in ruins.*

Again, Lord, what is your heart for this moment of 8.23.62? I confess my heart of conquest Jesus, and ask to be made right so that I can be pure to pray with, and for, my brothers. I repent of the ways and practices in my mind and heart that wants to completely extinguish the will and thoughts of another to replace it with my will. I rebuke the heart of the enemy within in me that says,”My will be done.”

Jesus, I observe this to You:
1. The Dakota were hurt and offended by the representatives and people of MN and U.S.
2. Their hurt gets turned into shame. “This state of Minnesota does not care if we live or die. All it seems to want from us is cheap land and resources.”
3. The shame triggers the pain of the Dakota. “I will prove that I am a worthy man. I will prove that we are a worthy people. If the nation of Minnesota will not honor us, then at least it will learn to respect and fear us.”
4. The offensive words and thoughts of Minnesota and the U.S. towards the Dakotas’ manifest into their actual offensive. And the cycle repeats…and repeats.

Lord, as Your child, I want to ask that You forgive both parties their offenses against each other. We have sinned against You when we sin against our brother the Dakota, the Minnesotan, and the American. We have spoken words against his value as a man, as a people, and are therefore guilty of speaking against Your value as his Father.

“You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.” Romans 14:10

Christ, we have responded in shame. Christ, we have responded in pain. Christ, we have let the enemy of our souls lead us to war with each other. Christ, will You stand between these forbearers  a second time? Will You restore the Dakota to New Ulm and vice versa? Will You give us a new mind of grace and truth for each other? Our generations? Our dwellings? Our (temporary) property?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!

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