Advanced production improvement. Requires Construction
- Constructed on:
- Forest (no need to clear it)
- + 1
- + 1 additional after researching Scientific theory
Lumber mills allow the use of Forest tiles without cutting the Forest down. In flat, grassland areas, devoid of Hills, Forests may turn into the only terrain with potential; cutting them down may lose this potential. That's where a Lumber mill comes handy.
A sawmill is a facility where logs are cut into lumber (AmE) or timber (BrE). Early mills had been taken to the forest, where a temporary shelter was built, and the logs were skidded to the nearby mill by horse or ox teams, often when there was some snow to provide lubrication. As mills grew larger, they were usually established in more permanent facilities on a river, and the logs were floated down to them by log drivers. Sawmills built on navigable rivers, lakes, or estuaries were called cargo mills because of the availability of ships transporting cargoes of logs to the sawmill and cargoes of lumber from the sawmill.
The introduction of steam power in the 19th century created many new possibilities for mills. Availability of railroad transportation for logs and lumber encouraged building of rail mills away from navigable water. Steam powered sawmills could be far more mechanized. Scrap lumber from the mill provided a ready fuel source for firing the boiler. Efficiency was increased, but the capital cost of a new mill increased dramatically as well. In addition, the use of steam or gasoline-powered traction engines also allowed the entire sawmill to be mobile.
By 1900, the largest sawmill in the world was operated by the Atlantic Lumber Company in Georgetown, South Carolina, using logs floated down the Pee Dee River from as far as the edge of the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina.
A restoration project for Sturgeon's Mill in Northern California is underway, restoring one of the last steam-powered lumber mills still using its original equipment.