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
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.
& 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.