Ruhm’s Phosphate & Chemical Company of Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee. Circa 1928
Photo AlbumPhoto album used as a promotional item by Ruhm’s Phosphate & Chemical Company of Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee. Circa 1928. The album contains 77 silver gel photos, almost all of which are captioned, and a couple newspaper clippings. Black album covers measure 11” x 7 ½”. Photos range from 2 ½” x 3 ½” to 7” x 9” with most photos on the larger side. This album contains images that would have been used in a promotional capacity for Ruhm’s Phosphate Company. The company was promoting lime-phosphate used on large-scale farms as fertilizer. Ruhm’s Phosphate & Chemical Company was established in 1897 in Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee. High grade phosphate was discovered in the area in 1896 and proved to be one of the most important mineral discoveries in Tennessee (Tennessee Historical Society). Twenty-five photos depict Ruhm’s phosphate mining operations and their fertilizer plant; all except 3 photos have typed captions. These photos show locomotives at the mines, loading and hauling material; draglines digging for phosphate; the washing plant which would concentrate lower-grade rock into usable material; the dryer towers; livestock; the stock house and grinding plant; and a string of railroad cars with the day's output. The remaining photos depict Illinois farmers with their crops, showing the difference between fields that applied lime-phosphate and those that did not. The difference is quite visible. These photos were a great way for farmer’s to endorse Ruhm’s lime-phosphate and this type of album could be used by an agent to successfully sell their product. The differences are inscribed in rudimentary handwriting on several of the photos. Illinois farms pictured in this album include C. J. Luther Farm in Wilmington, an experiment farm in Joliet, W. Hanley Thomas’s farm in Will County, O. E. Collins Farm in Grundy County, Ralph Mather’s farm in Plainfield, and Bert Kellog’s farm. Several photos showing the home made phosphate spreaders constructed by enterprising Illinois wheat farmers. A great photo album showing the process and success of lime-phosphate fertilizer from mining to crop yield and agriculture. Album covers have moderate soiling, wear and chipping; album leaves show signs of soiling; photos show soiling and light to moderate wear; ink transfer from captions on some of the photos. Ten photos are missing. Still in acceptable condition and a remarkable album with images recording a Phosphate & Chemical Company in the 1920's.
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