National Geographic : 1945 Feb
The Yield of Texas converted to make new things. Some such changes reflect the growth of Texas itself, and show how man's urge to raise his standard of living can deplete certain natural resources and force him to find new material to work with. I saw a perfect case where a chang ing Texas environment caused one big fac tory at Lufkin to quit making sawmills and go to making oil-field machinery. From Milwaukee W. C. Trout came to Lufkin in 1905, when east Texas was a vast forest of virgin pine, and started building sawmills. He built around 50, all big ones. When lumbermen had stripped the woods, sawmill sales fell off. But oil fields were be ginning to boom-and calling for pumps. Trout, an inventor, built a new kind of pump. "And that pump," Senator Tom Connally of Texas told me, "has made that little town of Lufkin known wherever oil wells are work ing, from Iraq to the Netherlands Indies and Venezuela." Bombs, howitzer carriages, mobile laundries and delousing trucks, rolling powerhouses for the Russian Army-Trout builds them all now. Some go south to Houston, are loaded on new ships launched there, and ride out across the Gulf and away to the fronts. 400 Miles of Newsprint a Day I write this on newsprint made near Luf kin from southern pine. A log here can be debarked, chopped up, boiled, and emerge as finished paper in a few hours. Years ago in Savannah, Georgia, Dr. Charles Herty set up his pilot laboratory, and on its toy mill I saw him make newsprint from slash pine. Today's big Southland Paper Mills, Inc., here in Texas, owned in part by southern newspapers, grew from Herty's pioneer experiments. Down on the Ship Channel, near Houston, is yet another big mill, of the Champion Paper and Fibre Company (page 174). It makes pulp, some of which rides up inland waterways to Chicago; it makes paper for certain national weeklies. Put a bit of pulp under the microscope, and you see the fishnet like characteristics of this stout wood fiber. Here, almost in the shadow of towering San Jacinto Monument, which marks the field where Sam Houston fought Santa Anna when the Republic of Texas was being born, sounds and smells rise now new and strange to this historic spot. Spending millions for wood and wages, these paper mills are not evanescent war babies; they will endure as permanent aspects of industrialized Texas. "Since Pearl Harbor some 40 million men in uniform have ridden on Texas trains," says Col. Ernest O. Thompson, of the State Rail road Commission. "Passenger traffic has increased 725 per cent since 1939. In one war year our trains hauled 791,400 cars of foodstuffs alone." Among railway systems serving Texas are the Rock Island; Missouri Pacific; Santa Fe; Southern Pacific; Burlington; Kansas City Southern; and the historic Missouri, Kansas, and Texas, or "Katy." Tremendous Wartime Tasks of Texas Railways Moving whole Army divisions to seaports, or in and out of the vast maneuvering areas in east Texas and western Louisiana, may involve from 50 to 75 trains. Suddenly, too, with only two or three hours' warning, Army may ask for a dozen special trains to move men, guns, and trucks from a Texas post away off to some east- or west coast embarkation port. In one year the Southern Pacific Lines alone moved over 1,000 troop trains, besides trains of flatcars loaded with guns, trucks, planes, and landing barges built in Texas shipyards. Solid freights of more than 100 cars are common. The Katy reports hauling a record train of 156 cars, more than a mile and a half long. "We move cargo now undreamed of in peacetime," said one Katy agent, "trainloads of bombs, cannon, airplane parts, even hos pital cars!" It took 71 trains to move a certain two divisions out of Texas; yet so well timed was cooperation with the Army that only one train departed late! "To make up for rolling-stock shortage," said Executive Vice President H. M. Lull of the Texas and New Orleans Railroad Company, of the Southern Pacific Lines, "we work our engines more hours and load our cars heavier. "To help meet labor shortage, we employ older men and more women. Here's a pic ture of one all-woman section gang-all Mexi can women at that, with both mother and daughter working in that same crew."* Besides all these military trains, Texas rails must also move monumental civilian cargoes. Consider cattle. When 10,000,000 acres of land were changed, by Federal orders, from growing cotton to raising feed, livestock of all kinds here reached an all-time high of nearly 27,000,000 head. Texas long has been our leading livestock State. Though value of sales in Iowa and * See "Women at Work," by La Verne Bradley, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, August, 1944.