The Southern Pine Association (present day Southern Forest Products Association) sponsored its first Logging and Sawmill Machinery Exposition at the New Orleans Municipal Auditorium on April 19-20, 1950. More than one million dollars worth of equipment was on display.
The significant result of the first Exposition was not the size of the crowd or the machinery on display, but the close liaison that materialized between lumbermen and machinery manufacturers. Knowledge gained by the exhibiting companies was quickly translated into action on the drafting boards of countless factories. This began the development of new machines and equipment specifically adapted to the requirements of Southern lumber.
While the Exposition schedule called for holding of the event every two years, the second show was not held until 1953 because of interruptions in the normal program caused by the Korean War. The campaign to mechanize the industry was slowed but not halted during the period of the Korean crisis.
On February 26, 1952, the first debarker ever installed at a Southern lumber company became operational in Warren, Arkansas. From this single event, investment in debarkers and chippers ensued with far reaching impact and began the modern-day mechanization of a Southern sawmill. Over the next twenty years the industry became more automated – a key indicator of increased stability and permanence.
Since 1950, Expo has provided the forest products industry with a quality venue to discuss trends, discover new technologies and focus on manufacturing success.