The History of Auburn by Henry Hall, 
Dennis Bros. & Co., Auburn, N.Y., 1869
Kingsford Starch Factory

Kingsford's Starch Factory, Oswego, N. Y., 1910
Kingsford's Starch Factory, Oswego, N. Y., postmarked 1910

Many thanks to Richard Palmer for contributing this interesting and historical article on the Oswego Starch Factory, owned by Thomas Kingsford.

   Before I deleted this I wanted to make sure you had a copy just in case.  Thousands of Oswego residents worked at this place over the years which was for generations Oswego's major employer.  Dick

P. 837
   The celebrated Oswego starch factory, though located in a neighboring city, may with great propriety be included with the enterprises of the citizens of Auburn. Here the company was organized, here the trustees - with the exception of Thomas Kingsford, Esq. - reside, and here all the financial and official business of the company has always been transacted.

   In March, 1848, four citizens of Auburn united with Mr. Kingsford for the purpose of manufacturing starch; and these, with others, were organized on the first day of April, under an act of the Legislature, passed February 16th, 1848. Their names were, viz: S. Willard, M.D., Erastus Case, Nelson Beardsley, Alonzo G. Beardsley,  Roswell Curtis, Albert H. Goss, Theodore P. Case, Thomas Kingsford, and Augustus Pettibone. Dr. Willard was elected president of a company, a position he still retains. A.G. Beardsley, Esq., was secretary from the first organization, and has been treasurer for the last twelve years, before which that officer¹s duties were performed by the president.

   Mr. Kingsford was, in 1848, a resident of the State of New Jersey, and favorably known as a manufacturer of an unequaled quality of starch from corn by a process which his own inventive skill had originated, the secret of which he retained. Prior to his  (P. 838) experiments with corn, first begun in 1842, the starch of trade had been manufactured from wheat or from potatoes. A factory was built at Oswego by the newly organized company, which at the time was considered unusually large; Mr. Kingsford and son were put in charge. At first, the stockholders were but few, and the capital only $50,000. Now, there are more than one hundred and fifty stockholders, scattered over several States, the majority, however, being in Auburn; the buildings are more than quadrupled, and the capital stock is nine times the amount with which the company commenced.

   The factory is concededly the largest manufacturing establishment of its kind known of in the world. Without personal inspection, it is difficult to obtain a correct idea of its magnitude, its capacity, and the amount of its productions. The original structure of wood has been succeeded by several immense buildings, composed of stone, and iron. The main building is 515 feet long, by 200 feet wide, varying from two stories high to seven stories. It has 478,000 feet of flooring, being more than sufficient to cover eleven acres. There are 675 cisterns, having an aggregate capacity of 3,000,000 gallons, for the purpose of cleansing the starch from every conceivable impurity. The length of the gutters for distributing starch, while in a fluid state, to various parts of the works, is more than four miles. There are fifty large force-pumps for the (P. 839) supply of water, and for conveying the starch while in solution, which are capable of elevating 600,000 gallons per hour, and, as a protection against fire, several of these pumps are arranged to force through fire hose 125,000 gallons per hour, with sufficient power to throw eighteen streams of water over the top of the seven story building. The pumps, which are worked by waterpower, are connected with two and a quarter miles of water pipe, varying in size from sixteen inches to two inches in diameter.  One pump alone cost $6,000, and will throw a barrel of water at a stroke.

   For grinding grain, there are twenty pairs of burrstones, and six pairs of very heavy iron rollers, with two miles of shafting, connected by 1,311 gear-wheels. There are over twenty miles of steam pipe for drying starch, and warming the building.

   The power of this establishment consists of ten turbine wheels of 50 horsepower each, and a steam engine of 200 horsepower. Its capacity is equal to the production of twenty tons of starch per day, which, at ten hours for a day, is an average of one ton of starch for each half-hour.  The factory furnishes employment for 500 operatives.  250,000 pounds of wrapping paper, and 3,500,000 feet of lumber, are required for packing and boxing the starch. The box factory, an imposing brick structure, is owned by Messrs. Kingsford & Son, who, by the recent improvements in machinery, are able, by one operation, to cut,  (P. 340) miter and dove-tail the boards, so that no nailing is required for the boxes, except the top and bottom. A large amount of the best grades of starch is packed in paper boxes, the material of which is cut and prepared by machinery. About 20,000 of these paper boxes are made daily. the packing of these boxes is performed by exceedingly ingenious machinery, of recent invention, which, with simulated intelligence, by one operation, packs with uniform shape, and weighs with reliable accuracy.

   The introduction of this great improvement in the manufacture of starch by Messrs. Kingsford & Son, is an era in American manufacture. Previous to this invention, the starch made in the United States was of a very inferior quality. We were dependent on foreign production for our supply of a good article. Now, not only have all importations ceased, but foreign nations purchase largely of the Oswego starch. Orders come from every part of Europe, from South America, and Africa, and even from China and the Pacific isles. At the World¹s Fair, held in Europe, with the whole world for competitors, the superior quality of the Oswego starch was frankly conceded by an award of a gold medal, in testimony of its highest order of merit. Prize medals were also won from the American Institute, in the city of New York, from the New York State Agricultural Society, and from Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Montreal.

Oswego Advertiser & Times, Wed., May 17, 1871

   A Great Starch Factory. - The Journal of Chemistry says: The magnitude of the starch manufacture may be inferred from the extent of a single establishment. ³The Oswego Starch Works,² located at Oswego, N.Y., cover about ten acres and consume 850,000 bushels of corn yearly in making 8,250,000 tons of starch, or 16,500,000 pounds of wrapping-paper are required, and four million feet of lumber for boxes.

   Over 500 operatives are employed in the establishment. The dimensions of the factory buildings are about 515 feet front, partly seven stories high, with 521,000 square feet of flooring, or more than sufficient to cover twelve acres. The factory has about six hundred cisterns of vats, capable of holding 2,200,000 gallons of water for cleansing the starch from all impurities.

   There are forty-one force pumps, capable of raising 524,000 gallons of water per hour. The length of gutters for distributing the starch is more than three miles.  For grinding corn there are twenty pair of burr-stones, and six pair of large, heavy iron rollers. There are over three miles of shafting, over twenty miles of steam pipes for drying, and twelve turbine water-wheels of 50 horsepower each. 

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