Monday, April 1, 2024

Covington Industry Tour 1914

 In 1914 the St. Tammany Farmer newspaper printed an account of a tour of downtown Covington industries, as reported by the president of the Women's Progressive Union. The companies had given the WPU members and area children a tour of their facilities. 

They visited the newly-esblished canning company, the St. Tammany Ice & Manfacturing Co., and the Mackie Pine Oil Plant.

Here is the text from the above article:

Through the courtesy of Dr. W. L. Stevenson, the school children of Covington and the members of the Women's Progressive Union were in­vited to visit the canning factory on the afternoon of Tuesday last. The idea which prompted Dr. Stevenson to do this was first, to give to our children a demonstration of the value of canning—not only as a commer­cial venture, but also as a lesson in domestic economy—that of stowing away the surplus of any crop for future use. This idea cannot be too emphatically impressed on the minds of our future home makers and the men and women who will carry on the development of our country and its resources 

Secondly, I think Dr. Stevenson is anxious, and rightly so, to show the people of our town what is being done to encourage planting and truck farming, and to establish a growlug industry in our midst..

 The visit was one of great interest from the time we entered the door of the ice house, until we left the beck door of Mr. Mackie's pine oil plant, for we also visited this most interesting factory.

The cold storage room, which of­fers a very necessary commodity to our town for refrigerating produce, etc., which, otherwise couldn't be  handled by our merchants at all, did not tempt us. It might have done so on a July day—but not in December's chill—instead we stroll­ed among the big revolving wheels and wondering as to the part they played in the making of the ice and shuddering at the possibility of getting caught in one of the big belts which controlled them. The children ran around over the disjointed flooring which covered the made‑‑and-ready-to-use ice, enchanted at the novelty and thinking, no doubt how nice it would be to slide around on the Ice itself.

All hail to the ice company! for what would we do without it? Not so much now, as during our burning hot days when a glass of cold lemon­ade, even ice water, is like unto the Balm in Gilead.

Canning Company

In a boarded off corner of the ice house and electric light plant is dom­iciled the Covington Canning Com­pany, struggling as yet but soon to be, we all hope and feel, one of four  permanent and fully established en­terprises.

All hands were busy with sweet potatoes, which were steamed in a big boiler, peeled and packed, and then sealed in solderless, sanitary cans.

This process was especially inter­esting, as it is done by one of those intelligent (yes, that's what I said) intelligent machines that works with an ability and precision that is won­derful. The can, with a cover a size too large for it, is put on this ma­chine, and the operator pulls a lever and the machine does the rest. "What is that?" Well, just go, gen­tle reader, and see for yourself.

Dr. Stevenson, Mr. E. J. Frederick and Mr. Maurice Planche were pre- siding, and made our visit one of great profit and interest.

Pine Oil Plant

Mr. Mackie's pine oil plant and ' St. Tammany parish too owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Harry Mackie, who has transformed waste product, and in many cases an incumbrance, into a valuable asset. Nobody ever thought that a pine knot or fallen pine limbs, or stumps, were good for anything but for making a fire or making a man swear.

Mr. Mackie has invented, discover­ed, evolved—just as you please—a process of putting in said pine knots, etc., into what is styled a "hog," at one end of the plant, and of bringing them out at the other as a wonderful­ly good cure for burns, sores, etc., etc., "Mackie's Pine Oil," tur­pentine, rosin, paint, tar, axel grease, and oh, dear, I don't remember how many other things, which he ships from our town, as our produce and our resource, to all parts of the country. 

Then one other thing that was of interest is that in this plant noth­ing is wasted, for even the fibre which remains after the products are extracted, is used for fuel, which not only keeps this plant going, but is used to generate the electricity used in the electrical plant and ice house.

Every one ought to feel a keen in­terest in these, Covington's indus­tries, and should boom them and the men who are trying through their efforts to boom our town.


President of W. P. U.

See also these links:

St. Tammany Ice & Manufacturing Company