The need for more efficient use of wood and wood-base products as engineering materials has led to a renewed interest in and need for data on basic strength properties. Of growing importance, therefore, is the tensile strength of wood, veneer, plywood, fiberboard, and paper. Although the character, orientation, and arrangement of the fibers make wood an anisotropic material, it may be treated mathematically as orthotropic, with three principal axes of symmetry. The wide difference in tensile and other properties associated with this orthotropy (properties along and across the grain) has increased the difficulty of developing satisfactory test methods. Nevertheless, investigations and standardization of test methods for these materials on a national and international basis date back many years and are still continuing. This paper presents a brief account of these activities as they concern tension testing, outlines the progressive development of some of the present test methods, and presents some of the experimental data on which these developments are based. Since wood-base materials frequently are used in sandwich constructions, a brief description of tension tests for sandwich constructions is also included.