Southern Engine and Boiler Works

d n english

The Southern Engine and Boiler Works started out as a small shop owned by two mechanics Sherman and Cole in 1874.

The shop was located at Lexington and M&O rail yards and known as Sherman Manufacturing Company . Name changed in 1880.

Southern Engine and Boiler Works .was on 3 acres which bordered by Royal,Mill Street and the railroad yard ..1896 owned by stockholders they made small engines, boilers and iron works. The plant was built in a square that covered the majority of the 3 acres operation 1899-1912 the address was 334-354 N Royal.

Engineers and workers from Germany were in charge of the design , supervising and building after 3 years construction.. there was an area in East Jackson known as German Town complete with homes and boarding houses for the workers ,German restaurants and of course a beer garden

 Back to the building on all three floor facing Royal were offices. On each floor there was also a bank style vault it was said there would be at times  more money on premises than in all the banks in Jackson. The employees at one time numbered over 400 employees. The beginning salary was $25.00 per month the general manager earned $125.00 per month..* 

There was a 3 story wall of windows facing the machine floor from the offices. At the end of each building were  walls of windows and across the roof were sky lights that could be opened by pulleys.  ( side note some of the engineers helped design several  of the downtown buildings with skylights  or added skylights to existing building to aid in light and ventilation)

The mill room building had skylights across the roof bringing in as much natural light and fresh air. The plant had it’s own power plant located in the center of the quadrangle. In the center of the Mill room was a ten ton electric traveling crane with a span of 76 ft. Another feature was a small industrial railroad running through all the buildings  making easy to carry parts and finished products where they needed to be. This whole plant was state of the art and engineers from all over the country came to tour for ideas.

With all the improvements the number of product line increased .  According to their catalog Southern Engine and Boiler Works was a wholesale jobber and dealer in mill supplies. The product line included supplies for log  mills ,grist mills ,  cotton mills, steel fittings, pipe fittings, shafting , pulleys, sewer and coal hole covers. These were just some of the products that were shipped all over the country from Jackson Tn. 

Business was good the company continued to prosper they were able to expand there product line to include gasoline engines.  After WW1 the financial difficulties began in 1917 the company sold to a capitalist from Cleveland , Ohio.

In 1918 a group of gentleman purchased the mill supply division and  formed Southern Supply Co.

In 1922 the remaining part of SE&BW  was purchased by W.H. Collier . (Mr. Collier was an engineer at SE&BW in 1905 he left to start and build the Marathon car. In 1906 in the building across the street on Royal the first car rolled out))

.Then in 1926 Southern Engine and Boiler Works went out of business completely because of the oil engines and TVA  electric power.

From 1926 to present day buildings were torn down until all that was left was 342  Royal. Steel Fab was at this location when I toured the building .

  • * next installment will be a review of what the average income and budget  was in 1901.
Steam rising from inside the SE&BW 1901

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