This collection consists of glass plate negatives and advertising ephemera created by the Baugh & Sons Company, also known as the Baugh Chemical Company, manufacturers of a variety of agricultural fertilizers from 1855-1963.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of glass plate negatives documenting various operations of Baugh & Sons Company. The collection also includes trade literature, advertising ephemera in the form of pocket notebooks, and farmer's almanacs published by Baugh & Sons Company.
Series 1, Glass Plate Negatives, undated is arranged by size, 5x7 or 8x10. The glass plate negatives came to the National Museum of American History (NMAH) in 1966 from the National Park Service (NPS), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania office. The glass plates, depicting sailing ships and wharf scenes, were given to the Division of Transportation, NMAH. The plates are not dated but appear to be early twentieth century. The glass plates may be ones used for the company publication, History of the House of Baugh, published circa 1927 or used in one of the many almanacs published by Baugh.
The scenes depicted in the various plates center around the company's wharf. Images of ships, tall masted and freighter, at the company dock are included as well as various staged scenes of laborers offloading animal bones (the basis of many of Baugh's products). There are also views of the factory complex from the Delaware River, showing an overhead rail system and large wharf side fertilizer hoppers with the company logo painted on at least one of them. The William J. McCahan Sugar Refining building may be seen in the background of some of the plates. These plates have been scanned.
Series 2, Advertising Ephemera, 1903-1914, undated is arranged chronologically. This series contains one piece of trade literature, seven pieces of advertising ephemera in the form of pocket memoranda, and three farmer's almanacs published by Baugh & Sons Company in the early twentieth century. The 1908 issue of the almanac contained a small black and white individual photograph of the Boston & Bangor Steam Ship Company building in Hampden, Maine.
The collection is arranged into two series.
Series 1, Glass Plate Negatives, undated
Series 2, Advertising Ephemera, 1903-1914, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Reportedly one of the oldest and largest fertilizer manufacturers in the United States during the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries, Baugh & Sons Company was founded in 1855 by John Pugh Baugh (?-1882) and two of his sons, Edwin P. Baugh (?-1888) and Daniel Baugh (1836-1921) in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Some company materials claim a founding date for the "House of Baugh" in 1817, which is probably based on the fact that the family was initially engaged in the tanning industry near Paoli, Pennsylvania. Baugh manufactured a variety of ground bone-based agriculture fertilizers that were tailored for a wide range of crops. They later expanded into the manufacture of animal charcoal, glue, and chemicals. Baugh's corporate offices were located at the Delaware River Chemical Works on South Delaware Avenue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with offices in Baltimore, Maryland and Norfolk, Virginia. Baugh operated manufacturing plants in Baltimore, Maryland at Canton in Baltimore harbor; Oneida, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the Delaware River at the foot of Morris and Moore Streets; Canton, Ohio; Galveston, Texas, and Norfolk, Virginia at Burton's Point.
A visitor to the Delaware River works reportedly wrote this description of the plant, "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." Baugh's Farmer's Almanac for 1903, page 14.
By the early twentieth century Baugh products were widely available from a network of independently owned farm supply stores. Baugh carried trade brands for each of its primary regions in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Norfolk. Baugh also exported products to England, France, Germany, and other countries. In its yearly almanacs they suggested the appropriate brand of Baugh fertilizer for specific crops and in some almanacs printed farmer testimony as well as photographs of crops grown with Baugh fertilizers.
Baugh Chemical Company was purchased by Kerr-McGee Oil Industries, Incorporated in 1963. Kerr-McGee ceased to exist as an independent entity in 2006 when purchased by Houston, Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corporation.
Collected for the museum by the Division of Work and Industry, National Museum of American History in 1966.
The collection is open for research use.
The collection is open for research use.
Copyright held by the Smithsonian Institution. Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.