The logging industry grew throughout the 19th century. The loggers felled big trees using only hand tools. Lumberjacks took pride in the trees they cut and posed for pictures on massive stumps using the growing technology of photography. Their work was dangerous and labor-intensive, unfortunately in the early 20th century, an estimated one in every 150 loggers died. With the invention of motorized tools, vehicles, heavy machinery, and other powered tools, the profession and culture of the lumberjacks faded away.
Lumberjacks worked in lumber camps and often lived a migratory life, following timber harvesting jobs as they opened
“Fallers” did the actual job of felling a tree with axes and cross-cut saws. Once felled and delimbed, a tree was either cut into logs by a “bucker,” or skidded or hauled to a railroad or river for transportation. Typically, the loggers would stand on a springboard, which was slotted into notches in the tree above the base. Using crosscut saws and axes, the loggers would then work on chopping a wedge into the tree. It was important to judge the direction of the cut for where the tree would fall.
Lumberjacks worked in lumber camps and often lived a migratory life, following timber harvesting jobs as they opened. They lived tightly packed in shanties (or bunkhouses) whose odor — a mix of smoke, sweat, and drying garments — was as distasteful as the bedbugs they supported. Strict rules often governed many of the bush camps (or “shanties”); many were alcohol-free and for the longest time talking during meals was strictly forbidden. Lumberjacks could be found wherever there were vast forests to be harvested and a demand for wood, most likely in Scandinavia, Canada, and parts of the United States. In the U.S., many lumberjacks were of Scandinavian ancestry, continuing the family tradition.