PARKERSBURG MILL & LUMBER
Mackey's Antiques & Clock
1249 Gihon Road
Parkersburg WV 26101
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Plat of the Parkersburg Mill Company 1896 THE PARKERSBURG MILL COMPANY.
A triumphant career which was inaugurated nearly half a century since, and one that has never since failed to have extended to it appreciation, confidence and general support, is that of the Parkersburg Mill Company, the businessoffice and mills Co. which are located on Green street a' the head of Second. It was established in the early fifties, by Caswell, Gould & Logan. From the first the industry was a healthy youngster, and opened right from the start a pair or very observing eyes upon a strange world, whose people it was henceforward to serve and for whose birth-place it was to perform a most prominent part in its up building It made its debut in a building that would be insignificant if compared with the mammoth plant of the concern now in operation. The promoters of the new industry had abounding and abiding confidence in Parkersburg and their new venture, and considering nothing as being detrimental or a setback, its founders worked earnestly and diligently on and to-day, as a result of earnest efforts, they have seen their enterprise merge into one of the greatest milling and wooden novelty works in this country.
From time to time, the early promoters of the industry added new equipments to their enterprise until they were finally face to face with the gratifying fact that their mill would take a back seat for none of similar character anywhere. Then the products of the mill began to grow in demand, consumers, having become aware of their superiority over other manufacturers, the production was less than the consumption, and, in order to supply all demands, increased facilities were resorted to, and the foundation for the present immense business grew more substantial.
The Parkersburg Mill Company succeeded caswell, Gould & Logan, the present style having been adopted on March0, 1865, when those who originally !reated the enterprise enlisted additional capital, expanded the business to increased the capacity and has continued with minor changes in the ownership until to-day the plant is controlled by C. L. and W. S. Caswell, J. W. Harris, R. A. Little, J. B., S. L., and Daniel Gould, F. E. and E. L. Davidson and is managed by a board of control, selected from the firm.
The formation of this partnership was a great stroke of enterprise, for to day directly and indirectly more men and boys are employed by the Parkersburg Mill Company than any 'Other individual enterprise in the city. Directly 'over 150 men 'Obtain employment in the mills, yards, etc., and nowhere is there a set 'Of employes that discharge their duties with greater satisfaction than do these and they in return have the confidence and extreme consideration, as regards their welfare, 'Of their employers. Since the establishment of the enterprise it has grown from an unpretentious to a pretentious size and to-day the floorage is over 45,000 feet while the yards and mills, which consist Of three commodious buildings, in the aggregate cover a space Of 12 acres; a wonderful transformation indeed since the day it made its bow to the public.
Mechanical improvements have made a great change in the method Of operating the plant and now there are no more modern, up-to-date 'Or indispensable appliances found in any manufactory, similar to this 'One, existing anywhere. These have been an important factor in the development 'Of the business, tor in addition to being profitable they also increase the quantity and quality Of the Output of the enterprise. Always abreast Of the times has been this concern and how much this has done tor the commercial interests Of the town need riot here be told, but it is a fact that it was ahead of the town years ago and operated to produce the period of extraordinary prosperity, which began when the firm's products became known, and which has not failed, probably only at slight intervals, up to now, Coincident with these developments the town began to spread itself, commercial interests increased a hundred fold and Parkersburg was classed as the second city in the rapidly advancing Mountain State, So into almost all parts of the civilized world have gone products of the Parkersburg Mill Company, they being shared by Germany, Scotland, England, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Canada, and all portions of the United States.
Then locally the patronage is immense and the company has done an invaluable and lasting service to the city by holding out inducements to those contemplating building improvements. This policy still animates the firm to the fullest, and calls forth new manifestations from time to time by a steadily increasing patronage. It is in no part our province to dwell at further length upon the merits of this solid enterprise but rather aquaint the reader with the magnitude of its capacity and output. The original structure, which although of adequate service years ago, still stands but is supplemented by others containing additional thousands of feet of floor space.
It stands as a comparison of a Chinese dwarf with a Norwegian giant The planing mill, sash factory and storage room is 50 x 125, containing three floors in addition to the basement. The sawmill and handle factory, the former copying the first floor and the latter the second floor, are located in a building 40x140 with a basement which is utilized as an engine room. In a brick building 40 x 40 feet in exterior dimensions is located a battery of boilers with several hundred horse-power capacity.
The buildings are all constructed of wood with the exception of the boiler house and a large brick structure, three stories in height, which stands at the eastern extremity of the plant, the first floor being occupied with a thoroughly equipped machine shop, wherein tools for the handle department are contrived and manufactured and where the machinery repair work of the plant is done. This is one of the features of the concern and is complete in all its details.
Before proceeding farther it must be remarked that the outline about to be given serves to indicate, in a necessarily condensed manner, the vastness this leader in its line of West Virginia industrtes. In all of its branches it is foremost, especially and emphatically so in the manufacture of brush handle and novelties in wood, of both having supplied for past years leading manufacturers, both in America and Europe. In the brush handle department of the works are manufactured handles for brushes of probably every known vocation where one is required. Six hundred varieties of handles are on display, which really makes this a wonderland for the one who is unacquainted with the magnitude and capacity of the works. The grades are almost as varied as the styles, the cheapest white wash or scrubbing brush handle and the most expensive duster handle being a splendid comparison.
From the offals of the saw-mills, through the hands of each of an average of ten operatives, some of them being skilled workmen, these handles pass until they are shaped and some of them highly polished, ready for market. Handles for household brushes including scrubbing, hair, clothes, radiator, wall paper, and stove brushes; skate woods, both roller and ice; founders', tanners', roofers', kalsominers', painters' and paperhangers' brushes and street, factory, builders', switch and floor broom handles are produced by the million here, of poplar, oak, maple, birch, walnut and sycamore.
During the past season 1,000,000 corn popper handles alone were produced here. When a handle of the higher quality has passed the polishing room, which is accomplished by hand and machinery, it is boxed and stored ready for shipment at a moment's notice. Handles that do not require polishing are placed in sacks and held in readiness to be consigned , when ordered. There is a promptness connected with this branch of the industry that but few others anywhere possess, thus buyers are always assured of having their wants attended to without delay.
An interesting feature of this department, which should not be overlooked, is the pattern room, where is contained the original patterns of orders that have been placed by consumers for years back. An extensive business is also carried on in the manufacture of boxes, the factory wherein coffee, soap and fruit can boxes are made s having a daily capacity of 2,000 poplar e boxes, while in the manufacture of oaken tin plate boxes 1,500 can be - turned out daily. A novelty that is also largely produced is fly trap bases, the e trade of the United States being supplied from this mill.
A department of the Parkersburg Mill Company, which for years has been in close touch with the best business life of Parkersburg and which also enjoys the distinction of being the largest of its kind in the State, is the planing mill with a capacity of 30,000 feet daily, where nothing but the finest specialties in house building are produced, including ceiling, flooring, sash, doors, blinds, veneered doors, moulding, porch columns, balusters, spindles, newells, corner bead, interior finish, stair work and brackets, and rods and dowels of all sizes. Laths and fence pickets are also extensively manufactured.
Oak bill timber, beveled and patent siding and nooring of yellow pine and poplar lumber are a leading specialty of the concern. The capacity of the saw mill is 75,000 feet the dry kiln 70,000 feet and the storage sheds ordinarily 350,000feet of flooring and siding. So completely stocked are the various storage sheds that a bill for an ordinary house can be furnished in a single day. In the yards of the company are stored nearly 7,000,000 feet of rough lumber, which comes to the mill in logs from booms on the Little Kanawha river, bordering on which is some of the finest timber in America.
The annual transactions of the firm aggregate 14,000,000 feet of poplar and oak lumber. All of the Gentlemen comprising the Parkersburg Mill Company are well known and influential in social and business life, while in the management of this large and thrifty enterprise they contribute in a most important measure to the name and fame of Parkersburg as a prominent commercial and manufacturing center. They have surrounded their business with ample facilities for accurately responding to the demands of their trade and the business under the personal supervision of the partners is steadily successful.
Part 2 History of The Parkersburg Mill
Management of the Parkersburg Mill Co. at 2nd and Green streets which succeeded the original Caswell, Gould & Logan Co. on March 20 1865 had developed the firm into one of the greatest milling and wooden novelty works by the turn of the century. C. L. and W. S. Caswell were still active in the firm in 1865 when it became Parkersburg Mill Co. It was first established in the early 50s by Caswell. Gould and Logan. The Parkersburg Mill Co. eventually became the Parkersburg Lumber Co. It employed more men and boys than any other individual enterprise in the city by 1896 with over 150 men on the payroll in the mills and yards.
The company yards and mills covered 12 acres and three large buildings accounted for 45,000 feet of floor space.Products from the Parkersburg Mill Co. flowed into all parts of the world including Germany, Scotland, England, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick. Canada and all portions of the United States. The company was important in the tremendous growth and prosperity of Parkersburg during the period. In 1896 the company. produced 100,000 corn popper handles for example. Handles of every kind, for home and industry. were special ties of the company at the turn of the century.
The planning mill was responsible in those days for a capacity of 30,000 feet a day. The plant's location was situated along the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad near the conjunction of the Ohio and Little Kanawha Rivers. The company has consistently been a significant leader in the industry As far back as 1896 the firm handled transactions for 14 million feet of poplar and oak lumber for example. The firm has always surrounded itself with ample facilities for accurately responding to the demands of its trade. Parkersburg Lumber has closed down and is no longer in business.
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