A while back, I visited a friend of mine and she let me raid her house to take pictures of all of her old collectibles. Today’s post is on one of her items: a Baugh and Son’s fertilizer notebook.
Baugh’s claimed to be one of the oldest and largest fertilizer manufacturers in the U.S. during the late 19th to mid 20th centuries. Founded by John Pugh Baugh and two of his sons in 1855, the company created expanded to include three facilities, one in Norfolk, one in Pennsylvania, and one Maryland.
On this notebook, the company claims to be founded in 1817, which is when the Baugh family most likely began a tanning industry in Pennsylvania. A natural progression from tanning, the composition of the fertilizer is quite different than any I’ve ever heard of before!
A visitor to the Delaware River plant wrote the following description in the 1903 Farmer’s Almanac,
I have just inspected the Baugh Fertilizer Works on the Delaware River. I saw many large buildings, much machinery and numerous workmen. There was business activity everywhere; but, more than anything else, I saw bones. The whole placed suggested animal bones. There were bones in heaps, in sheds, on carts, on ships. There were bones whole and bones crushed; and bone ground, ready for shipment. I learned that the annual sales of Baugh’s brands aggregate nearly 100,000 tons; which would be six thousand freight-car loads. I was told that these bones came from everywhere: from North America and from South America; from the West Indies and even from the East Indies. It was intimated that the present big bone heaps would soon be bigger, owing to incoming cargoes, but the statement made no impression on me.
Buagh remained a large fertilizer company throughout the early 20th century, until in 1963, it was purchased by Kerr-McGee Oil Industries, Inc (who subsequently went out of business in 2006).
The idea of using animal bones as fertilizer grosses me out a bit, but I will say they use pretty cool logos on their notebooks!