Index Gurley Community & Town History
Gurley Lions Club serving the Gurley community since 1948

From Our Past V

In January through March, 1892, The Gurley Record ran several articles about the manufacturing facilities existing in Gurley at the time. The most notable establishments were the Stave Factory, the Bucket Factory, and Eagle Pencil Mill. Following are quoted articles from the Record. This article is quoted from the March 10, 1872 issue and highlights the current saw-mill and Bucket Factory.

Mr. D. Vorenberg, the polite and energetic manager of the Alabama Lumber and Manufacturing Company, has kindly furnished us with the data for the following description of their extensive manufacturing concern.

The lumber part of their business has been carried on for about five years, but the manufacturing of wooden ware was begun last year, the first bucket being made the 20th of last October. All the stock in the company is owned by Mssrs D. Vorenberg and his brother, I. Vorenberg. The former conducted a mercantile business here for about five years under the style of D. Vorenberg and the latter at Paint Rock as I Vorenberg and Bros. Other key employees are Harry Weil superintendent, Thos. N. Sage general foreman, G. W. Beason, yard master, W. T. Kelly shipping clerk, J. W. Bartee bookkeeper, and Miss Ronie Weil typewriter.

In their lumber department, they cut cedar lumber, cedar post, square cedar, poplar, oak, ash, walnut, lymn, elm, and other lumber. They furnish this in any shape desired both in rough and dressed. They also deal in all grades of sash, doors, and building materials of all kinds. The capacity of the saw-mill is now 15,000 feet of lumber and will be greatly increased when the new plant is got in running order.

In order to increase their capacity for manufacturing lumber, to enable them to meet the demands on them, they are now putting in a new saw mill plant. The machinery for this arrived last Monday.

In the wooden ware department, they manufacture cedar buckets in two sizes, nos.1 and 2. Also, they make oak well buckets, cedar churns, candy buckets, and cedar chests. The factory has a capacity of 60 dozen cedar buckets per day, 40 dozen well buckets, 25 dozen cedar churns, 25 dozen candy buckets and one dozen cedar chests.

Capt. E.F. Walker's house on Gate St. Gurley
Capt. E.F. Walker's house on Gate St., Gurley, pictured with family 1904.
(Click on the picture to view it full size)

These goods have shipped all over the United States and have been given universal satisfaction, notwithstanding the short period they have been running.

They have received the second orders from a number of dealers. Their well buckets are meeting with wonderful success and are of superb quality and the manufacturers have nothing to fear from comparison of these buckets and all their other wares with those made by any other firm in the whole country. On all their goods, they place a square emphatic guaranty that they are strictly first class and if not as represented, they can be returned.

They have received numerous letters from their customers all over the land commending them on the grade of goods they turn out and for their enterprise. The largest shipment they have made at on time was 800 dozen which required two cars to convey them to their destination.

In the manufacture of candy buckets, beech, hackberry, maple, and other woods are used which has before been regarded as only fit for fuel.

Mr. Thos. N. Sage, the foreman, is an expert in this business, thoroughly understanding it in the minutest detail from the cedar log to the finished piece or ware. He has made cedar ware in largest factories in the United States including the Red Cedar works of Murfreesboro, Tenn.

The company is investigating the propriety of putting four or five pencil slat saws to cut boards out of which lead pencils are made. If found feasible, they will be placed in the factory soon.

The factory has never, since it's opening in October, stopped an hour on account of orders and they now have enough orders to keep the mills moving for three months. It can readily be seen how their goods are prized.

The process of making buckets may be of interest to some our readers. The cedar logs are sawed off by a large saw the length of the bucket or churn. It then goes to a saw where it is sawed lengthwise into pieces out of which the staves are sawed, which is done by small saws. Then the staves are sawed at both ends by a double cut-off saw. They then go to a machine where there is a groove cut in one edge and a tongue on the other. After which the staves are set up and fastened at each end and the vessel carried to a machine that dresses it on the outside. The hoops are then driven on. The bottom is first sawed then jointed and glued together. After the glue dries, it is trimmed on a lathe to the proper size. All this work is done with astonishing rapidity.

Actual picture of the newspaper article with a sketching of the bucket factory and a bucket Actual picture of the newspaper article with a sketching of the bucket factory and a bucket.
(Click on the picture to view it full size)

This factory has and will continue to be one of Gurley's boasted enterprises. The proprietors have thus given the place an institution which will be the means of dispersing much money among our people and giving employment. They deserve the gratitude of this community and we hope an unusual degree of success will attend them.

Article taken from the front page of the March 10, 1892 issue:
One of the most interesting sights along the Rio Grande River is to see a regiment of Mexican soldiers taking a compulsory bath. It is only compulsion that the rank and file of the army ever bathes, and when the ceremony is in progress, one-half of the regiment enters the water while the other half stands guard on the bank. The guards have rifles in hand to shoot down any man who attempts to desert from their bath. When the ablution has been finished, the men resume their places in line and guard their comrades while they bathe.