From Sawmills to Logomobiles

Sawmills were Clearly the Mainstay of DeLoach Mill Manufacturing Co., but at Some Point Attention Turned to the Manufacture of a Steam-Powered Logging Truck and Sawmill


| March/April 2003



DELOACH FACTORY

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.