From Sawmills to Logomobiles

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THE DELOACH FACTORY AS DEPICTED IN THE COMPANY’S 1905
CATALOG. TRUE TO PRACTICE OF THE PERIOD, A GREAT DEAL OF FREEDOM
HAS BEEN TAKEN IN THE SCALE OF THE FACILITY.

For some years now, I have been interpreting steam power to the
general public by way of a column I write for a local newspaper.
One resource for my research is a private collection of original
sales literature and manuals in the possession of Bob Reeher, New
Castle, Pa.

Looking through Bob’s collection recently, I came across an
original 1905 catalog for a company I’d never heard of, the
DeLoach Mill Manufacturing Co., Atlanta, Ga. If you’ve been
around the steam hobby for any length of time, you know that most
of the old-time companies made mills to go with their steam
engines. Companies like Peerless, Russell and Gaar-Scott made
mills, and sawmills became a major item in the line of the Frick
Co. of Waynesboro, Pa.

The catalog is titled DeLoach Patent Sawmills, High Grade
Mill Machinery,
and its cover features what appears to be two
sides of a gold medal, but the cover has faded to the point
it’s hard to tell what the medal might have been.

Over the years, I’ve reviewed a company or two that had the
idea it did not need to brag about its machinery, believing the
machinery’s performance would speak for itself. Not so with
DeLoach. This 144-page catalog claims DeLoach built more sawmills
than any three concerns in the world, stating further that the best
materials and tools available were none too good for them: ‘A
few sawmills that we know of possess one or two good features ours
have them all.’ And so it goes. A fine example of the
pitchman’s art, the catalog is exhaustive, detailing every
offering from DeLoach. Owing to the catalog’s length, I’m
only going to mention some major highlights.

DeLoach Offerings

Following a practice common with old catalogs, the DeLoach
catalog prominently pictures the company’s manufacturing plant
on the second page. An opening description informs us DeLoach was
burned out in a June 13, 1902 fire, but that new facilities were
built almost immediately, and by September 1902 DeLoach shipped 45
percent more product than in September 1901. The catalog notes that
the new plant was equipped with the most modern, electrically
driven tools, and in fact cites the fire as a sort of providential
act, pushing the company to modernize with the result of being able
to build better products.

THE DELOACH BELT FEED SAWMILL FEATURED TWO SETS OF BELTS GIVING
FORWARD AND REVERSE, ONE SLACK WHILE THE OTHER DROVE.

THE DELOACH ‘SIMPLEX’ FEED SAWMILL USED A DOUBLE
FRICTION DRUM ON A LARGE FRICTION WHEEL, ONE FORWARD AND ONE
REVERSE, SO THERE WERE NO GEARS TO BREAK.

Looking at DeLoach’s mill descriptions, I thought their size
designations a bit unusual, but then again, I am not a sawmill man.
The catalog lists size designations of numbers 00, 0, 1, 1-1/4,
1-1/2, 2, 2-1/2 and 3. The catalog shows several styles of carriage
for logs, the first being the ‘Gem’ log beam carriage,
available sized up to 28 feet long. Next up is the ‘Standard
B’ carriage (which, indeed, looks sort of standard), followed
by the ‘1905’ carriage, which was extra wide. Another new
idea to me was a ‘suspended carriage.’ This was a design
where the carriage frame was underslung on the axles so they could
use 16-inch wheels for easy running without the carriage being too
high. Rack and pinion or wire rope drive was available (apparently
on most any mill), and the drives were powered by no less that five
sorts of gear:

The ‘Hercules’ drive, a variable speed drive by means of
a ‘paper’ friction and disc that fed into a worm screw and
gear to the carriage.

The wire rope drive, again controlled by the friction and
disc.

The belt feed, where two sets of belts gave forward and reverse,
one being slack when the other was driving.

The ‘Simplex’ feed, which used a double friction drum on
a large friction wheel, one forward and one reverse, so there were
no gears to break. This arrangement was also normally furnished
with the double mill.

The ‘Oregon’ feed, a very heavy looking setup where two
friction wheels are mounted on a rocker for forward and reverse,
with one or the other held against the inside of the driving
pulley.

Another offering was their Monarch mill, which featured a cast
iron husk and adjustable saws. The mandrel for the top saw had up
to a foot of adjustment, up or down, and two 70-inch saws could cut
a 10-foot diameter log (that doesn’t add up to me, but
that’s what the catalog claimed.) Following the catalog’s
description of DeLoach mills is a section listing a shingle bolter
and packer, a lathe, a drag saw, a lath mill, a stave machine,
cutoff saws and cordwood saws.

The DeLoach shingle mill was of the horizontal blade design,
which is not too common here in Pennsylvania, and the catalog shows
gang edgers, trimmers and planers. Toward the back the catalog are
grinding mills for feed and flour (and stones for the same job),
not to mention turbine water wheels (and irons to set up such
mills) and baling presses (both belt-driven and horse powered).

The Logomobile and Lumbermobile

Two other machines shown in the catalog are decidedly unique.
The first is the ‘Logomobile,’ which the catalog calls
‘A Motor Log Cart.’ In its description of the
Logomobile’s merits, the catalog claims a lumberman could save
56-1/4 percent of operating expenses simply by using a DeLoach
Logomobile. This claim was made based on the pre text that
transportation expenses occupied the bulk of running expenses in a
normal mill, and that use of the Logomobile would cut
transportation costs by 75 percent.

THE DELOACH ‘OREGON’ FRICTION FEED MILL USED TWO
FRICTION WHEELS MOUNTED ON A ROCKER FOR FORWARD AND REVERSE, ONE OR
THE OTHER HELD AGAINST THE INSIDE OF THE DRIVING PULLEY DEPENDING
ON DIRECTION.

THE DELOACH ‘LOGOMOBILE,’ WHICH THE CATALOG CALLED A
‘MOTOR LOG CART.’ POWER SUPPOSEDLY CAME FROM A
THREE-CYLINDER STEAM ENGINE. IT’S UNKNOWN IF ANY WERE ACTUALLY
BUILT.

THE DELOACH ‘LUMBERMOBILE,’ WHICH THE CATALOG CALLED A
LIGHT, PORTABLE, SELF-PROPELLED SAWMILL. AS WITH THE LOGOMOBILE,
IT’S UNKNOWN IF ANY WERE ACTUALLY BUILT.

The Logomobile featured rear wheels 8 feet in diameter with
10-inch-wide tires, and front wheels 4 feet in diameter with
6-inch-wide tires, all running on Moffett patent roller bearings.
Power came from a 25 HP, three-cylinder vertical steam engine with
kerosene for fuel. The Logomobile’s patented
‘Varispeed’ friction drive was claimed to give the
Logomobile speeds from two-thirds mph to 20 mph. Further, the
friction drive for forward motion was also used to lift logs, and
the catalog tells us that ‘by the shifting of a lever, the
hoisting drum is turned into a skidding machine, by which logs can
be skidded any distance desired.’

The catalog says the Logomobile could carry 10 tons at 10 mph on
good roads, 20 tons at 5 mph, or even 100 tons at 1 mph. The
machine was also said to be able to pull several trailers.
‘With the Logomobile,’ the catalog claims, ‘it is
possible for two men to do the work of four, four-horse teams and
eight men.’ Wow! What a machine. Were any of these sold, and
are there any left? It is clearly a steam machine, although there
is no hint of where the boiler sat and no stack for the kerosene
fumes, at least not in the catalog illustration. And then
there’s the ‘Lumbermobile.’

The Lumbermobile was claimed as a light, portable,
self-propelled sawmill. The catalog illustration shows the mill
with straked traction wheels and a chain and sprocket driven saw –
but no sign of the gearing that must have been there or the power
unit that drove the machine. Power was claimed to come from a 12 HP
kerosene-fired three-cylinder, vertical high-speed steam engine
similar in basic description to the engine for the Logomobile. To
keep the mill light, no carriage as such was used. The head bolts
(two shown) rode directly on the frame on their own rollers,
connected by two strips like the reach of a wagon gear. Track was
supplied. Power could be either the steam engine already noted, or,
as the catalog stated, ‘We are prepared to furnish instead of
the steam outfit a gasoline motor, also motor log wagons on the
same order.’ Now, wouldn’t one of these draw attention at a
show?

It’s not clear how many, or indeed if any, of these machines
were built. This is the only mention I have ever seen of the
DeLoach Logomobile and the DeLoach Lumbermobile. With any luck,
someone out there can fill in the blanks on what was clearly a
unique proposition in the steam world. We also hope someone might
still have a DeLoach mill. It would be interesting to see one of
these in the flesh 100 years after the fact,

Steam enthusiast Thomas Downing is a regular contributor
to Steam Traction. Contact him at: R.R. 3, Box 149A, Ellwood City,
PA 16117.

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