Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Fun Facts About Turpentine

Founded in 1936 by Judge Harley Langdale of Valdosta, Georgia, The American Turpentine Farmer's Association (ATFA) was formed to represent gum naval stores' factors, producers, and dealers in the United States "turpentine belt" (comprised of Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas). ATFA greatly aided the gum naval stores industry by organizing producers to stabilize the market, improving the marketing and production of gum turpentine and its byproducts, promoting the conservation of pine forests, taking control of surplus, and initiating a loan program for ATFA members. Ultimately, ATFA worked to show that turpentining was an agricultural, not an industrial, process.

Recently the Russell Library acquired some of the meeting minutes of ATFA. In preparation for the online database, which will allow users to view and search the minutes, archivists Abby Griner and Kat Stein have been researching the history of turpentine in the South. To whet your appetite for the upcoming database, here are a few fun facts they've learned along the way about turpentine:

Georgia almost became the "Turpentine State" instead of the "Peach State" Before turpentine was sold in bottles in 1939, customers used buckets to pull it out of barrels for purchase There are two mains types of pine tree that produce turpentine in Georgia, long-leaf and slash pine

Post by Abby Griner, Access and Electronic Records Archivist, Russell Library

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