The Michigan and Alabama Fruit Packing Company

Published 7:29 pm Tuesday, July 12, 2022

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There was some discussion recently on social media about the Troy Veneer and Crate Company.  The parent company of the Troy Veneer was the Michigan-Alabama Fruit Package Company, which located in Troy in 1901.  The Troy plant was located on the Alabama Midland and Central of Georgia railroads of Troy.  From the May 23, 1906 Troy Messenger is this article on the Michigan and Alabama Fruit Package Company.    

Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith

“It would indeed be a revelation to the average Trojan to take a peep in at the above factory and see the thrifty hands at work turning out thousands of fruit baskets and boxes that are used in Alabama and Georgia to ship the luscious fruit so abundantly grown in these States to the Eastern or Western market.

Just to think!  Seventy-five thousand of these baskets, crates and boxes are turned out daily during the six working days of each week, and yet this large plant, covering five acres of space, is taxed to its utmost capacity to keep up with its annual increasing orders.

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Just a little over five years ago was this plant put in operation, and now its products are in demand from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and as for that matter, all over the world.

Mr. S. Tatman, the genial 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 the various kinds of machinery that is required to turn out this new, world-famed, well-known and useful goods, is the patentee of the new wire-bound orange box, which is fast becoming universally used by the orange growers of Florida and California.

     The company now has an order for 40,000 peach crates to be shipped to Fort Valley, Ga., and also have several thousand of strawberry boxes for various points in this State and a number for points in the West and as far North as Michigan.

     The veneer product is used mostly by manufacturers north of the Ohio river, most of which goes to Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Philadelphia and New York, where it is used in making piano sounding boards.  The Halloc and Poplar products are shipped principally to Benton Harbor, Me., for the same purpose.

     Besides turning out all these products the plant turns out flooring, ceiling and siding, averaging something like 20,000 feet per day.

     The plant has been greatly improved, something like $1,200 having been spent within the past three months in putting in additional new machinery.

     Mr. Tatman is also a machinist and inventor, having patented an oscillating machine used in many similar plants, where gas, steam or gasoline can be used without danger of loss or motion to the engine.  It is one of the most valuable inventions of its kind in use today, and demand for it is growing all over the country.

     The plant has two 80 lb. engines, used to turn its various machines, which furnish steam from the sawdust and remnants to run the plant, thus saving thousands of dollars annually in fuel.  The plant also has a 125 horse power engine to turn its mammoth veneer machine, that cuts immense Spruce pine logs into thin sheets, used in making peach crates, orange and strawberry boxes and veneer slats.

     Most of the timber, Spruce pine and Gum, used in the manufacture of these fruit shipping products is obtained from various points in Alabama, thus making this kind of timber very valuable, which a few years ago was scarcely ever in demand.

     The officers 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 the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.