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Volume Four Number Five

The Grain Growing Business of Wheat

Pacific NW 1880-1890
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The Royal Brand
Oregon Milling Company’s Celebrated Flour
--Where and How It Is Made--

Jan. 1, 1885 - The thousands of visitors who daily attended the Mechanics Fair here in October last, was scarcely a single exception examined with no small degree of interest, the display of Oregon made flour placed upon exhibition by the Oregon Milling Company. The sacks were made of white satin and the label a handsome specimen of hand-painting. The exhibit was of special interest, in as much as the article itself was a staple in every sense of the word and one in which everyone present was deeply interested. In view of the public notoriety they received on this occasion, and the flattering notices given them daily through the public press; public inquiry as to their business headquarters were heard on every hand, and it becomes our pleasant duty to answer those inquiries. The site of the valuable milling property owned by the Oregon Milling Company is located at Turner, in Marion county.

In the summer of 1879 the mill was built, it started running in a small way on custom work by Mr. Cockerline, who operated it until the spring of 1880, then disposed of it to Angus Shaw, who added to the property by further improving the water power, entirely remodeling the machinery, building the large warehouse connected with the mill, and making it rank A-1, as compared with mills running under the old system.

About this time, however, the roller and gradual reduction system was introduced into the Willamette Valley, and Mr. Shaw, foreseeing that the flour made by this process was destined to take the lead, transferred the Turner Mills into the control of the City of Salem Company in the fall of 1882. This company entirely remodeled the mill, introducing at great expense the latest and most improved machinery, making it in every respect a first class gradual reduction mill. It was operated by them until the summer of 1883, when a number of the stockholders of the City of Salem Company withdrew, and securing a controlling interest in the Turner Mills, became duly incorporated under the laws of Oregon under the name of the Oregon Milling Company, with Jonathan Bourne, president, and William Dunbar, Esq., secretary and agent, with the head office at 87 and 80 Front Street, Portland.

The company immediately added further improvements to the water power and mill, which now stands second to none in the state for the uniform excellence of its flour and the courtesy of its employees. That their efforts to give satisfaction to farmers is generally approved and is evident from the number of teams that arrive daily at the mill from the surrounding country.

The mill, when run to its full capacity, can turn out 200 barrels of flour daily. They have a magnificent water power, and possess every facility for doing first-class work. The structure is commodious and conveniently arranged throughout, and their custom is rapidly increasing. J.M. McIntosh, the courteous superintendent, is a practical miller of long experience, and personally supervises every department, thus ensuring first-class work and prompt attention to the wants of their customers. The most popular brands of flour are the Royal Brand, Bakers Extra, and the Pioneer Mills XXX Extra, which command standard rates in market wherever introduced. --The Oregonian

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The story above is from the Page Two of this edition. Other stories in the Number Five edition of our Pacific Northwest Wheat series includes two opposing stories written by wheat growers of the day debating the profitability of growing wheat in Oregon. Two old photographs (portraits of the debating growers) adorn the Front Page. Original line art published during the 1890s on Page Two illustrates the story we carry on the gigantic grain elevator built on the Willamette River. Throughout our series we have used original artwork by Chigusa Otsuka, a Japanese artist, to illustrate our wheat stories. Some archival photos are used when available, often from the Oregon Historical Society's photo archive. Our series was sponsored by The Wheat Marketing Center.

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More history of wheat awaits in Our Number Six

Of the series: Pacific NW Wheat (1840s) Wheat: Currency as Good as Gold.

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Bridget E. Smith, editor & publisher

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