More Than 60 Years Later, A WMU Grad Helps Start Another Paper Manufacturing Machine

Apr 16, 2019

Credit Gordon Evans / WMUK

Western Michigan University’s new paper manufacturing machine bears the name of a graduate who was there when the first machine went online. Chuck Klass went on to a career in the paper industry after graduating in 1962. 

Klass came to Western as a student in 1957.

“By the summer of 1958 I was working in the pilot plant lab when we started up the original old paper machine in McCracken (Hall) and I got to thread the tail down it”

Credit Gordon Evans / WMUK

More than 60 years later, Klass pulled the first sheet of paper off the new machine Tuesday in the university’s Business Technology and Research Park.  

“The machine being installed is a dream come true, when they took that thing off, and it was named after me, I was little choked up.”

Klass says it was one of the few times he has been at a loss for words.

Western officials say the pilot-scale multi-ply paper manufacturing machine is the only one of its kind in North America. It will allow for the development and testing of two-ply paper, and provide a place for companies to test new paper types.

Credit Gordon Evans / WMUK

The new fiber recycling plant was also unveiled Tuesday, it is named for the Managing Director of Western’s Paper Technology Foundation, John Bergin.