Log Marks

In 1842, Michigan enacted a law, patterned after a 1692 English law, requiring log marks to be registered in the county where the logs were to be manufactured into lumber. When loggers sent their lumber downstream they needed to be able to prove ownership. The law was intended to prevent confusion and log piracy. Michigan's law engendered hundreds of marks. The marks originally were limited to straight lines and simple patterns which could be cut with an ax but they soon evolved from the mundane, to the creative and poetic.

AB log brand brand with heart shape
brand with pointed finger
brand with horse shoe shape brand with the letter M

Logmarks varied as much as the imagination of the loggers.
brand with hangman brand with pig's head
brand with container or rye brand with words tax and sky and yet

The lumber industry today uses trademarks based on logmarks.
brand with letters
brand with image of log and stylized letter D brand with tree and stars

To read more about logmarks, see The Story of Logging the White Pine in the Saginaw Valley: A Story with Rare Old-Time Pictures, Complete with Dictionary of Loggers' Terms by Irene M. Hargreaves and Michigan log marks: Their Function and Use During the Great Michigan Pine Harvest from the United States Work Projects Administration Michigan.

These images may be duplicated provided appropriate credit is given.

McKinney Engineering Library