The plant of the Sample-Williams Clay and Color Company is located in the northern end of the town, a distance of two and a half miles from the Southern Railway station, Tombigee river and tidewater. They are miners and shippers of yellow ochre and china clays, also manufacturers of all clay commodities, such as clap turpentine cups, hollow building blocks, brick, drain tile, flower pots, jugs, churns and all other clay novelties.
The ochre plant consists of a machinery building 30×30 feet, two stories high, boiler and engine room, four drying sheds, storeroom and warehouse, with a floor space of 9,645 square feet. The drying sheds contain racks for air-drying the ochre with a shelf space of 35,000 square feet. There is also a cooperage for making the barrels in which the manufactured product is shipped. The plant is equipped with a one hundred horse-power boiler, a fifty horse-power engine, two Worthington pumps, one disintegrator, one No. 22 Bauer Bros, attrition mill, one large fan for air floating, buckets and worm conveyors, necessary belting, and two tram railways and cars.
Underlying more than sixty acres of the company’s holdings there is a bed of yellow ochre that ranges in thickness from four and a half to ten feet. The quality is so fine that it is unnecessary to wash it. In quality it is equalled by few American ochres and excelled only by the imported French.
This ochre is shipped to all parts of the United States, and is used extensively by the paint grinders, paper manufacturers, wholesale drug houses, wall-paper manufacturers, linoleum and oilcloth manufacturers.
The clay plant consists of one machinery building 30x 60 feet, one engine-room, one single-story building 30×60 feet, equipped with racks and pallet boards for drying; one two-story building 21×100 feet, equipped also with racks and pallets for drying, the second story with lattice floor and potter’s wheel for the manufacture of clay novelties; two twenty-two-foot down-draft “Y” tunnel kilns for burning its products; one standard brick shed, equipped with track and automatic lift cars. The machinery consists of one sixty horse-power engine, one Baird flower-pot machine, one pug mill, and one Bensing side-cutting table, with twelve-inch conveyer belt, and one J. C. Steele & Sons No. 4 brick machine, that has a capacity of thirty to fifty thousand brick per day. The machine is also equipped with dies for the manufacture of farm drain tile ranging in size from four inches up, and also the necessary dies for the manufacture of the famous hollow building block, a commodity that is just in its infancy in the South.
The shipping advantages of this factory are unexcelled, although situated some little distance from the river and railway. They have recently constructed a siding that allows them to have cars placed right at the factory doors.
They employ between forty and fifty men and have an expenditure each month of something like two thousand dollars.
The company owns outright ninety-three acres and mineral rights on sixty-four additional acres. The bed of clay underlies practically every acre, and ranges in thickness from twenty to thirty feet, making the supply absolutely inexhaustible.
The plant today is in its infancy, having been in operation for the past twelve months, and has made rapid strides during this time. While a new industry and young, it will be at some near future date one of, if not the largest, industries of the kind in the United States.