A thin, flexible hardboard
made from wood scraps, fused under high pressure
to release the fibre
s into forming a dense mat.
The process was discovered almost accidentally by William Mason in 1924, trying to produce an insulation board out of wood chips using some heat and pressure. When he accidentally left it going too long, he found it had fused into the familiar thin board, to be named Masonite in his honour.
Innovations in defibrators in Sweden from the 1940s allowed the process to take less heat and pressure, and operate continuously. The Masonite company quickly took advantage of this.
The Masonite company was founded in 1925, and listed on the New York Stock Exchange from 1935 to 1984, and diversified into all sorts of wood composites. Later part of the International Paper Company, it was acquired by Premdor Inc. on 31 August 2001; but because the Masonite name has such a high profile, Premdor is to change its own name to Masonite International Corporation with effect from 1 January 2002.
For more history see