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That’s when the Notion of the McManus Cork Project began. McManus’s staff discovered cork oaks growing in California and wondered how they got there. The business worked with a forester in Berkeley named Woody Metcalf, who had been dedicated to California’s plant life. In decades of trekking around California, he had found heaps of big cork pine trees. Metcalf’s study revealed that the state’s Quercus suber plantings followed an 1858 dispatch of acorns in the Mediterranean, organized by the U.S. Patent Office at San Francisco. With assistance from Crown Cork and Seal, Metcalf researched all the West Coast cork oak trees south to Los Angeles. One boy at Maryland read concerning the cork job and sent off a petition for acorns. By return mail came a box with 3 acorns packed with moss. He planted and watered them, and they sprouted. He kept watering them until they grew over 10 feet high. Seventy decades later, he still remembers the trees’ dark green leaves. They feature a World War II effort to plant trees around America. Each Arbor Day from 1942 through 1946, a patriotic tree-planting drive brought thousands of kids, politicians and adults together to grow the country’s tree cover. If you headed an American firm that relied on freshwater trees abroad for your enterprise, you might look at developing American self-reliance with millions of cork oaks on American land. That is what Charles McManus Sr., the mind of Crown Cork and Seal, determined to do. Metcalf and his team then practiced the crop of cork on a few trees, stripping the cork on the bigger trees using the tools and care that Portuguese cork manufacturers used. Cork oak is the only tree species which develops an yearly ring from the outer bark in addition to from the timber, so the tree can survive with the bark peeled back. The cork can be harvested each eight to 10 decades and the tree may live for over 100 decades.
Tree Products in American Life
Trees That Inspire
All that cork came from Mediterranean forests in Europe and North Africa. In 1939, those imports were threatened when Nazi Germany enforced a blockade of Atlantic transport. Hitler ordered U-Boat submarines to sink merchant ships which defied the blockade.
Acorns Are for Growing
Survivors of the time are still found throughout the country today. They comprise trees in South Carolina where farm families joined in planting cork trees on Arbor Day far from Columbia, and trees in Arizona. Veterans from this effort also grow on the California state capitol grounds and at the U.C. Davis arboretum, where Woody Metcalf managed the plantings. After writing a publication about the World War II effort, I seen the big trees in both places. The Los Angeles Times published an article about the tour and the effort for making America self-sufficient on those trees. It stated Metcalf”estimated that over 20 years sufficient cork may be produced to provide local needs.” Metcalf sent samples from the bigger California trees into the Crown Cork laboratory in Baltimore. When the evaluations confirmed that their cork was of quite good quality, those trees became the focus of an acorn gathering effort. To market Arbor Day events in a variety of nations, the business enlisted foresters and governors, along with marching bands and radio broadcast protection. Countless 4-H children in every single country lined up to plant seedlings. Planting trees gave them a means to station wartime fears into actions. They’d be helping green the country, and maybe make a domestic source for American businesses. Back in Arizona, Metcalf saw 10,000 seedlings growing at Superior, ready for distribution before Arbor Day at Arizona. Louisianans marked Arbor Day by planting silk oaks at the capitol grounds at Baton Rouge. There Governor Jimmie Davis, the songwriter behind the hit,”You Are My Sunshine,” hoisted a shovel to the event. By 1945, the McManus Cork Project had gathered and distributed tens of thousands of acorns, either by the California trees and from special collections in the oak’s native variety. McManus grew concerned in October 1941 when the U.S. Commerce Department released a report regarding the rise in cork usage, from bottle stoppers to all kinds of defense insulation. The report stated that the American cork industry affected so many other sectors it had become a topic of national security. America needed cork. Mostly, they had been planting cork oak seedlings. There was a reason behind it. The planting effort was the brainchild of the head of a Baltimore-based bottle-cap firm named Crown Cork and Seal. A fact of life from then rarely remembered now: thin slivers of cork were utilized in bottle caps to create the seal tight and keep the pop in carbonated sodas. They remind us that we have survived crises before, and they can encourage us to take up shovels to establish many more trees now. A planting campaign can cultivate youthful tree-planters and inspire us for a lifetime. In fact, before we had cheap plastic, thin sheets of cork (the bark in the cork oak) were used in all types of insulation and seals. America imported almost half the world’s cork output every year for all these applications.