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Spruce Interesting Facts

We have compiled some very interesting facts and history behind Spruce timber. Enjoy!….

Spruce Beer

Spruce tips have been used in the brewing process for hundreds of years. In fact, they were one of the main additions in beer before people learned about brewing with hops! Spruce tips add a fresh, bright aroma. The fresh, tender tips have a mellow pine scent and a crisp flavor. A number of refreshing flavors are associated with spruce-flavored beverages, ranging from floral, citrusy, and fruityto cola-like flavors to resinous and piney. This diversity in flavor mainly comes from the choice of spruce species, the season in which the needles are harvested, and the manner of preparation. Lighter, more citrus-like flavors are produced by using mult981-Empire_Bottling_Works_Spruce_Beerthe bright green fresh spring growth before the new needles and twigs harden and become woody, which is right when we pick ‘em!

The fresh shoots of many spruces and pines are a natural source of vitamin C (which helps the stability of the finished beer). Captain Cook made alcoholic sugar-based spruce beer during his sea voyages in order to prevent scurvy in his crew. Recently spruce has been used as a flavoring ingredient in commercial beer such as Alba Scots Pine Ale and Alaskan Brewing Company’s Winter Ale and Wigram Brewing Company’s Spruce Beer, which is based on Captain Cooks first beer brewed in New Zealand in 1773.

See more at http://www.spruceontap.com/aboutus.sc

 

The ‘Spruce Goose’

The largest airplane ever constructed, and flown only one time, the Spruce Goose represents one of man’s greatest attempts to conquer the skies. It was born out of a need to move troops and material across the Atlantic Ocean, where in 1942, German submarines were sinking hundreds of Allied ships. Henry Kaiser, steel magnate and shipbuilder, conceived the idea of a massive flying transport and turned to Howard Hughes to design and build it. Hughes took on the task, made even more challenging by the government’s restrictions on materials critical to the war effort, such as steel and aluminum. Six times larger than any aircraft of its time, the Spruce Goose, also known as the Flying Boat, is made entirely of wood.

Originally designated HK-1 for the first aircraft built by Hughes-Kaiser, the giant was re-designated H-4 when Henry Kaiser withdrew from the project in 1944. Nevertheless, the press insisted on calling it the “Spruce Goose” despite the fact that the plane is made almost entirely of birch.

spruce-goose-imageThe winged giant made only one flight on November 2, 1947. The unannounced decision to fly was made by Hughes during a taxi test. With Hughes at the controls, David Grant as co-pilot, and several engineers, crewmen and journalists on board, the Spruce Goose flew just over one mile at an altitude of 70 feet for one minute. The short hop proved to skeptics that the gigantic machine could fly.

Perhaps always dreaming of a second flight, Hughes retained a full crew to maintain the mammoth plane in a climate-controlled hangar up until his death in 1976.

See more at http://evergreenmuseum.org/the-museum/aircraft-exhibits/the-spruce-goose/

 

Christmas Tree

Spruce is one of the most popular Christmas Tree options in the northern hemisphere.

Enorway_spruce_christmas_treevery year at Christmas time, a tree is placed in the Rockefeller Center in New York City.  They look for the largest, most beautiful tree they can find.  Year after year their favorite is the Norway Spruce.  Its strong branches are able to hold up the thousands of lights and ornaments, and being outside the needles stay on the tree for a long time. The tallest tree ever used was a 100-foot Norway Spruce from Killingworth, Conn. in 1948.  After X-mas the tree is cut into lumber and used to build a house.

See more http://www.norwayspruce.com/

The Norway spruce tree is one of the fastest growing varieties of evergreens, and only takes about 3 years to grow to Christmas tree height. Under good conditions, these trees can grow up to 3 feet a year for the first 25 years. They’re also dense, making them a great choice for a privacy barrier or wind screen. The Norway spruce is hardy as well, and can withstand drought conditions.

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/norway-spruce-tree-facts-and-care-tips#b#ixzz3QdX13FCx

 

The Wright Brothers

A recently discovered letter from the Wright Cycling Co. reveals spruce grown in West Virginia was used to build frames for the Wright brothers’ first flying machines.

1903_Wright_Brothers_Flyer_FrontThe typewritten letter dated March 5, 1904, and hand-signed by Wilbur Wright as the “Wright Cycling Co.” in Dayton, indicates the brothers were searching for 500 feet of “the finest possible” spruce, free of knots with grain “free from twist.”

“We have found it impossible to obtain this lumber in our local yards,” the letter states. “Can you supply our need?”

Apparently the West Virginia Spruce Lumber Co. in Cass had what the Wrights needed.

Check stubs housed at Wright State University Libraries indicate the Wright brothers purchased $45 worth of lumber from West Virginia Spruce three weeks later, said Dawne Dewey, director of public history and head of special collections and archives.

See more at http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2009/10/14/spruce.html

Old Tjikko

This ancient, 16-foot tall Norway spruce lives in the scrubby Fulufjället Mountains Old_Tjikko_imagein Sweden. At 9,550 years, Old Tjikko is the oldest single-stemmed clonal tree, and took root not long after the glaciers receded from Scandinavia after the last ice age. To figure out the hardy spruce’s age, scientists carbon-dated its roots. For thousands of years, the forbidding tundra-climate kept Old Tjikko in shrub form. But as weather warmed over the last century, the shrub has grown into a full-fledged tree. The spruce’s discoverer, geologist Leif Kullman, named the tree after his dead dog.

Image: Copyright Leif Kullman.

See more at http://www.wired.com/2010/03/old-tree-gallery/12/

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/04/080414-oldest-tree.html