There have been recent discussions on social media about Troy Veneer and Crate Company. Troy Veneer’s parent company was the Michigan-Alabama Fruit Package Company, which moved to Troy in 1901. The Troy plant was located on Troy’s Alabama Midland and Central of Georgia Railroads. From May 23, 1906, Troy Messenger is this article on the Michigan and Alabama Fruit Package Company.
“It would indeed be a revelation to the average Trojan to take a look at the factory above and see the thrifty hands at work producing thousands of fruit baskets and boxes that are used in Alabama and in Georgia to ship the succulent fruits so abundantly grown in those States to the Eastern or Western market.
Just to think! Seventy-five thousand of these baskets, crates and boxes are brought out daily for the six working days of each week, and yet this large factory, covering five acres of space, is taxed at its greatest capacity to meet its annual orders growing. .
A little over five years ago, this plant was commissioned, and now its products are in demand from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and for that matter, all over the world.
MS Tatman, the brilliant and polite Vice President and General Manager is perhaps one of the most experienced manufacturers of veneer products in this country, and whose knowledge of different types of machinery is needed to turn this new world , -Famous, Well-Known, and Useful Goods, is the patent holder of the new wire-bound orange box, which is rapidly becoming universally used by orange growers in Florida and California.
The company now has an order for 40,000 cases of peaches to be shipped to Fort Valley, Georgia, and also has several thousand boxes of strawberries for various points in that state and a number of points west and as far north than Michigan.
The veneer product is primarily used by manufacturers north of the Ohio River, most of which go to Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and New York, where it is used in the manufacture of piano soundboards. Halloc and Poplar products are shipped primarily to Benton Harbor, Me., for the same purpose.
In addition to producing all of these products, the plant manufactures flooring, ceilings and coverings, averaging approximately 20,000 sq. ft. per day.
The plant has been greatly improved, with something like $1,200 having been spent over the last three months installing additional new machinery.
Mr. Tatman is also a machinist and inventor, having patented an oscillating machine used in many similar factories, where gas, steam or gasoline can be used without danger of engine loss or movement. It is one of the most valuable inventions of its type in use today, and demand is growing nationwide.
The mill has two 80-pound engines, used to run its various machinery, which provide steam from sawdust and scraps to run the mill, saving thousands of dollars a year in fuel. The factory also has a 125-horsepower motor to power its mammoth veneer machine, which cuts huge logs of spruce pine into thin sheets, used in making peach crates, orange boxes and strawberries and veneer slats.
Most of the wood, spruce pine and gum, used in the manufacture of these fruit shipping products is sourced from various points in Alabama, making this type of wood very valuable, which a few years ago was not almost never asked.
The directors of the company are: John W. Bedford, President; Wm.S. Tatman, vice-president; G. Handy, secretary and treasurer.
All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger. Stay tuned for more. Dianne Smith is president of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.