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Robert Swanson (1905-1994) worked for years as a logger, then as a forestry safety inspector for the government. A special horn Swanson invented for trains was adapted for use all over the world, and he also pioneered the development of air brakes on logging trucks. His expertise on steam trains and their whistles was central to the restoration of BC's popular Royal Hudson excursion train, and visitors to Vancouver will recognize his handiwork in Gastown's steam clock.
However, to his legions of fans Swanson will always be known as the "Bard of the Woods." During his forestry career he went to every logging camp and mill operation on the coast and spent long evenings bull slinging with the legends of logging. He started writing down their stories and ballads in the 1930s, and in the process he became one of BC's bestselling poets. A new edition of his collected bunkhouse ballads, Rhymes of a Western Logger, was published in 1992.