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Manufacturers Index - DeLoach Mill Manufacturing Co.

DeLoach Mill Manufacturing Co.
Atlanta, GA; South Bridgeport, AL; Chattanooga, TN, U.S.A.
Manufacturer Class: Wood Working Machinery

Last Modified: Sep 12 2018 10:19AM by Jeff_Joslin
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In the 1870s, country miller William Henderson De Loach, of Kirby Springs, GA, invented a horse power that allowed him to thresh a farmer's grain on site, avoiding the need for the customer to bring the grain into town. He also developed a grist mill. When the equipment manufacturing business outstripped his milling business he and his sons moved to Atlanta and established W. H. De Loach & Sons; this was during or before 1875. The company seems to have incorporated in 1887 as De Loach Mill Manufacturing Co.

According to a 1909 DeLoach catalog, the company shipped their very first sawmill on January 20, 1887, a machine that was likely designed by Alonzo Aaron De Loach, W. H.'s son. The new line of sawmills were modern and innovative in design, winning gold medals at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago and at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. They were the first to introduce a sawmill with variable-speed feed and return. The friction drive proved to be simple and reliable in operation and was a key factor in DeLoach's success

A 1902 fire destroyed the DeLoach's Atlanta factory. The factory was rebuilt on the same five-acre site but they quickly found the site to be too small and so a new factory was built in Bridgeport, AL, on a forty-acre site. The new factory complex included a foundry, machine shop and an "erecting shop", for a total of over 150,000 square feet. All machines were electrically driven.

After W. H. De Loach died in 1914, his sons relocated the business to South Bridgeport, AL, and by 1920 they were in Chattanooga, TN. Alonzo A. De Loach died in the fall of 1921 and it seems that the company ceased operations shortly afterwards.

Name plate on a De Loach sawmill. Note the half-space in "De Loach".

Information Sources

  • 1897 mention in the Arkansas Gazette.
  • 1899 catalog. 1900 catalog of 80 pages. 1905 15th edition catalog of 144 pages. 1919-1920 catalog of 80 pages, carrying the Chattanooga address.
  • Mentioned in C. H. Wendel's "The Circular Sawmill"; he reproduces an ad from a 1906 issue of "American Thresherman".
  • Listed in Kenneth Cope's American Cooperage Machinery and Tools. Cope states that this company was founded in 1887, from which we infer that the business was incorporated in that year.
  • History of Georgia, by Clark Howell, 1926, has the following text:
    With the death, in the fall of 1921 of Alonzo Aaron DeLoach, president of the AA DeLoach Company and founder of the DeLoach Mill Manufacturing Company of Atlanta, there passed from the scenes of earthly activity one of the sterling and dependable figures in the commercial and industrial life of Georgia and is is fitting that in this definite history of the state in which his useful life was spent there should be carried...
  • A rootsweb posting by Toxey A. Hall says, "William Henderson Deloach (December 13, 1829—November 14, 1914) was a Confederate Cavalry Officer, and also an inventor of milling equipment, holding two patents for milling. He operated the Deloach Mill Equipment Company in Atlanta early in the Century, and I understand that it was left to his sons." In an email, Mr. Hall provided us the numbers of the patents issued to De Loach (see the first two patents in the Patents section, below). He also provided the information on the early history of W. H. De Loach and his sons.
  • The spelling of "De Loach" is inconsistent, and we often see "DeLoach Mill Manufacturing Co." of variations thereof. The patents, catalogs, and ads we have seen all spell it "De Loach". But the one machine label we have seen has only a half space between "De" and "Loach".