Stratford beginning, pp. 21-36
In 1919, the mill was completely rebuilt. The mill doubled in size and all parts were put into first class condition under the supervision of Win. F. Goetz. The boilers were rearranged to constitute a central plant furnishing steam for all the mill purposes. The steam was furnished to the planing mill engine through a six inch overhead pipe and the shavings sent back for fuel. High pressure boilers were installed for the saw mill.The rear end of the old mill and the lumber shed were torn down. The log pond was cleaned and made much deeper, and a new concrete dam built. From Stratford Journal, August 8, 1924: After a steady run of ten months, the R. Connor Co. have completed the seasons cut of logs, the last log passing through the saw Wednesday. The season was a good one. Over 12 mil- lion feet of logs were fed to the hungry teeth of the big band saws. Most of the logs were cut and hauled from the Frankfort line north of Stratford. The coming season will about com- plete the cutting of logs on the Connor holdings in this vicinity, but provisions are being made to ship logs from other points. The following article from the Stratford Journal, April 24, 1925, gives a first-hand description of the Connor Mill at that time. We beleive it was written by Herman Gerndt, the listed editor of the Stratford Journal. Our uncertainty lies in the fact that the Journal changed hands many times that year. Connor mill The writer, accompanied by Superintendent W. F. Goetz, took a tour of inspection through the R. Connor Co. sawmills of Stratford. Every man is thoroughly trained in his particular line of work. First we were taken down through the boiler rooms where five large boilers generate the steam power for the mill. Here we found the large furnaces fed automatically with the saw dust. Waste from the mills was conveyed to them by conveyor chains. The surplus fuel is carried on by to a large fuel room beyond the furnaces and again brought back to them by con- veyors when needed for night fires. From the boiler rooms we next visited the rooms upstairs where we found a large crew of men at work on the saws, edgers, trimmers, etc. Here we got a glimpse of how the large logs are handled in a modern mill. All the risks of early days have been eliminated now by the use of modern machinery, and it was indeed interesting to watch as the men operated the various machines. Here the large logs, after being elevated up to the main floor, are rolled onto a carriage by steam and rigidly held in place while the carriage is driven forth and back past the saw. Here the head sawyer, standing to one side, operates this carriage and turns the logs by the use of levers. Two men work on the moving carriage, one known as the carriage rider "dogging" the logs securely while the other, known as the setter, by the use of steam levers, sets up the logs according to signals given him by the head sawyer. When finished, the lumber is then dumped from the car- riage onto live rolls and conveyed over to the resaws oredgers, according to the size of the timber, and another large log is rolled to its place on the carriage. From the edgers the lumber is conveyed to the trimmers where the trimmer operator, again by the use of levers, trims the boards to the lengths desired as they leave the mill on their way to the marker and over sorting chains to the trucks and out over the tramways to the yards. At the rear end of the mill men are engaged sorting the "waste" as it passes in conveyors picking out those pieces suitable for lath, broom handles and other small articles. Here we found a very busy crew at work. To the south of this main mill is located what is termed as the "heading" mill where barrel heads, laths and other smaller pieces resawed. This at one time was was a very busy branch of this great establishment but the demand for their products have fallen off to such an extent of late the company figures on closing down this section permanently some time this year. The mills and yards together at this place cover about one hundred acres of ground, their annual cut of lumber being around 12,000,000 feet. Their product is mostly hardwood consisting of maple, oak, elm, birch, ash, basswood, hemlock and white pine, and most of this comes from large timber holdings of the company situated some ten miles east of the village. A private owned railroad runs out to the tract and surveys have already been made with the intention of extend- ing this road some five miles further out this summer. When this is completed and new camps established, employment will be given to around fifty or so more men during the coming cutting season. At the present time the R. Connor Co. employs about one hundred and fifty men and their monthly payroll at this place runs around $12,000 per month. Pay days fall on the 5th and 20th day. Aside from their own personal cut of 12,000,000 feet annually the mills here do custom sawing for our farmers and average about 200,000 feet additional for them each year. At the present time our yards here are well filled with cut lumber, probably between 8,000,000 feet and the company have enough logs on the ground to keep the mills busy until well to- ward fall. In addition to the mills this company operates a large dry kiln in connection where the maple lumber, especially, is dried and prepared before it is shipped out to their mills at Laona, where it is made into flooring. A large part of the output of this mill is used for making furniture, agricultural implements and automobiles and is shipped direct to the various large factories over the country. I understand they turn out more hardwood lumber right here in Stratford than any other mill in this section of the state. The local plant consists of the main band saw, one vertical and one horizontal re-saw. From the large engine room power is furnished to run everything and large dynamos furnish electricity for use throughout the mills and yards.
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