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CIP Research employees relive the good times


July 1, 2001
By Pulp & Paper Canada

HAWKESBURY, ON — In May 2001, 155 former employees of “The Research” gathered at the Hawkesbury Golf Club to mark the 10th anniversary of the closing of the laboratories. The research department was started in 1923 by the Riordon Company, two years before it was taken over by Canadian International Paper Co. (CIP).

A separate subsidiary of CIP was established in 1948 under the name Industrial Cellulose Research Ltd. (ICR). ICR changed names several times over the years, to International Cellulose Research, CIP Research and Canadian Pacific Forest Products Research Ltd.

Until the late 1960s, when it reached its maximum staff of 250, ICR gained a worldwide reputation for research on the production of dissolving pulp and its use in making cellophane, rayon textile fibre and tire cord as well as cellulose acetate film and plastics. In the field of dissolving pulp, it served as the technical centre for the entire International Paper organization. In 1968, the role of ICR changed.

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The extensive laboratories and pilot plants provided research and technical support to CIP in the fields of newsprint, bleached kraft market pulp and packaging. Particularly during the period of rapid growth — 1950s and 1960s — highly trained scientists and engineers came from around the world to work in Hawkesbury. “The Research” also provided interesting jobs as technicians and other support staff to a large number of local men and women.

A similar reunion was held in 1996 but limited to those still working at the time of closure. This time, it was decided to invite anyone who ever worked at “The Research”. Besides those in attendance, a considerable number of messages of greetings, reminiscences and expressions of regret were read out or posted for perusal. The oldest person in attendance was Frank Charles, 96, who came to Hawkesbury from England in 1928.

He was manager of rayon research for many years and overall director of the laboratory until he retired in 1970. Also present was Bill Saxton, the last president of CIP research, who retired in 1989. People came from across North America and even London, England, to attend the reunion. A large display of photographs and other memorabilia illustrated the work and play of the research personnel from the 1930s until 1991.

A few speeches and even an original song (Ed. Note: By Ted Snider of course) recalled times past and celebrated the unique spirit of the organization. The organizing committee consisted of Joan Burwash MacGillivary, Ron Dines, Peter Hodgson, Bill Kitchen, Don Mutton and Barbara Woods.

Don Mutton is a former vice-president and director of research for CIP. Now retired, he still lives in Hawkesbury, ON. This is an edited version of an article that Don wrote for The Review, a local weekly published in Vankleek Hill, ON.


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