Working: Man, Woman, and Machine

Photographed December 19, 2014
On display at the Discovery Paper Center
Appleton, Outagamie County, Wisconsin
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Man, Woman, and
In 1948, Thomas Dietrich, noted artist and former Artist-in-Residence at Lawrence University (Appleton) was commissioned by Richard Bellak to do a series of paintings showing papermaking inside Fox River Paper in Appleton. The original series of paintings depict the activities of the men, women, and machines inside the mill.

To papermakers, they speak of a familiar time not so long ago.
This exhibit is on display at the Paper Discovery Center, located at 425 West Water Street, Appleton, Wisconsin 54911.

Home of the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame

The Paper Discovery Center in Appleton is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Sundays and Holidays. Members - Free | Adults - $5.00 | Seniors - $4.00 | Students - $3.00 | Families - $12.00.

Thomas M. Dietrich -- Painter

These are links to more markers / exhibits at the Paper Discovery Center in Appleton:

There are 11 paintings in the series . . .

Before the use of trees for fiber, beginning in the late 1800s, cotton rags were used to make figer. Still today, the finest papers are made with cotton.

Women were commonly employed as rag sorters and cutters. They went through the old clothing and removed buttons, seams, and hems. The clothes were then cut, prior to being sent to the beater. Standing as they worked, the job was dirty and tiring.
Paper coming off the paper machine winds up on the reel at the dry end after passing through the on-machine calendar rolls. The foreman and machine tender are showing peering into the dryer section of the paper machine.
This painting illustrates an open headbox, the forerunner of the modern head box [sic], where slurry is sprayed onto the wire.

Fibers flowing onto the wire act like logs floating down a stream and line up in the direction of the flow. Most of the water is quickly removed by gravity and suction as the pulp fibers knit into paper. In the background a couch roll can be seen. The couch roll will "pick" the sheet off the wire and transfer it to a felt for pressing and drying.

The man is adjusting the valves in order to change the amount of stock sprayed. This is done by varying the depth of the slurry in the headbox. The higher the slurry, the faster it will come out.
 The Fox River Paper Company building
Established 1883

Fox River Paper Company is now owned by Neenah Paper.

 The exhibit is located at the Paper Discovery Center in Appleton.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful post about the paper industry in the Valley and Thomas Dietrich.

Melinda Roberts said...

Thank you so much, Diane! And I'm going to be keeping an eye out for those stained glass works -- that's another passion of mine that's not included on this website, the stained glass windows of Wisconsin churches :)

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