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The woods around Madison Co provide the lumber for homes, buildings all over the county and various products such as spokes.
In 1889 Mr. Jacob Weis and Mr. Leah opened the Spoke Factory on Madison at Middle Av. The Spoke Factory produced flats boards and spokes for wagons material for the flat boats and keel boats and various other products. Then in 1890 R.P Morgan was instrumental in relocating the Spoke Factory to Beasley St and expanding their product line.
The name was changed to American Skewer Co. This new Co made skewers, flag poles, wagon and trunk slats, slats for whiskey barrels, dowel, clothes pins, spools for thread and kindred products. Kids would go down to the scrap piles and get the scraps to create doll houses ,railroad tracts for their toy trains and various other toys.
One of the kindred product were sticks sent the Diamond Match Co. to make matches.
FYI history of the match
In 1870 the match was tipped with with or yellow phosphate and sulfur. Now if you know chemicals this was not a good combination. Not only striking the match would times cause an explosion but many a rug was burned or worst damage.
None the less these matches were a big seller in the Southern and Western states. In 1909 a safer tip was created sesqui-sulphide phosphor was patented. Needless to say the production of matches increased.
Another use for the sticks sent the Diamond Match Co. were toothpicks.
Then in 1905 a young man by the name of Frank Epperson left his pop on the back porch with a stirring stick in the cup. The next morning it was frozen thus the creation of the popsicle.
The Diamond Match took the opportunity to use the sticks from
American Skewer Co in Jackson Tn to make popsicle sticks.
It is amazing to see how many products were made form the lumber in the woods around Madison Co Tennessee.
In 1935 the company was sold to Morgan-Hitchcock.
Then 1941 the Diamond Match Co purchased the company and moved the operation out of Jackson.
Many a family member worked at the American Skewer Co.
Men and women from 14 years old would work up to 60 hrs a week for 30 cents an hour.
The annual year income from 1925-1930 was $1200.00 a year.
The cost of a bread was 8 cents ,a gallon of milk 50 cents ,gas was 10 cents a gallon if you were lucky enough to own a car.
Cars were approximately $500.00.
Side note when Mr. Cecil moved Buddy’s Place over to Lafayette I would go visit him for some of his famous stories.
One day he asked me if I wanted see some history. Of course.
We went down to the basement to see the original foundation. There were bricks from the dirt floor to the beams that went all the way from the front to the back of the building over 30 ft he said.
“ Now young lady those beams came from one tree in the Forked Deer Bottom.” Mr Cecil said
For those of not familiar of Buddy’s the building later housed Miss Ollie’s . Now Miss Ollie is a whole other story.
Research from the Library and stories people shared.
Downtown Wanderings 2003 d n English