Caro – History of the Nation’s Survival of the Old Sugar Factory


Michigan carpentry and XIX. The century was intertwined. The wooden barons passed the state after the hurricane, as they did in England and New York, loading the world’s last magnificent white pine stand. The villages that were dying in their hometown, hundreds of miles of waste fuel, swamps caused by erosion, and the shocks left by the heritage that left their mark on the astonishment. Wooden villages across the state, one of which was named Caro, Cairo, Egypt, were named for explicit reasons to combat extinction.

If he had to have the same opportunity to find a place in the century, he needed industry. The mayors and other leaders of the state threw one or the other. In Caro, they talked about sugar farms from Bay County. An entrepreneur named Thomas Cranage built a sugar factory in Essexville on the outskirts of Bay City to replace another lumber yard. The results of Cranage’s experiment sparked excitement. It quickly replaced the darkness that was entrenched in the hearts and minds of the leaders of the rigid community on the back.

Cranage traveled to Nebraska, Utah, New Mexico and California and witnessed the process and spoke with technicians and then hired them. He then founded the Michigan Sugar Company and, avoiding the mistake of many entrepreneurs, saw that he had the right capital to survive the despair that goes along with new initiatives.

In addition to good planning, the Michigan Sugar Company also benefited from the good weather. The first success in the history of the state was the first season for the collection and processing of sugar beet (in the talk on the beet sugar industry). Farmers collected an average of 10.3 tons to make 32,047 tons of sugar per 3,103 acres. The sugar content of beets averaged 12.93%, with eighty-two percent of the factory producing 5,685,552 pounds of sugar. As a result of the 12.93% sugar content, each tonne of beet was 258.6 kilos of sugar. From then on, the new sugar factory packaged 169 pounds, which was sixty-nine percent of its sugar recovery, which was a great result for the first campaign.

Among Carola’s leaders, the main business activity of Tuskola County was Charles Montague. The people waited for Mr. Montague to find out what he had thought in the sugar debate.

Montague was fifty-two years old when Michigan began to open up to sugar perspectives. He has already been successful in various fields such as banking, agriculture, carpentry, merchandising and manufacturing. In addition to owning and operating the town hotel, he ran the local telephone system and electric lighting company.

If a sugar factory were to be built in a town, it needed a famous citizen to ship it. Someone’s involvement in this would create a strong desire – enough to shake dollars from hidden places – so that farmers can raise it well. the beets could have been rich people. However, there was no need to create investment in the Caro community in Michigan. In Detroit, ninety miles south, eager investors sought mature opportunities and closer to home in the nearby town of Vassar, a man who lived in a man, never stopped looking for an opportunity.

Richard Hoodless lived in comfort in Vasser, in a small town called Mathew Vassar, the founder of Vassar University. For many years he traveled the roads of Europe out of concern for the English as a buyer of agricultural products. Thirty years earlier he had seen his beet fields in Germany, which brought prosperous factories close to villages, factories that hired farmers, bought supplies and paid taxes to local governments, and generally caused the tide of sustainable prosperity to rise, with no citizens directly or indirectly. the opportunity to immerse yourself in a treasure trove of beet fields.

Hoodless sought ways to double the success of German farmers. As luck would have it, an ad appeared in the Chicago newspaper, August Maritzen, a young architect who had recently married, took the time out of his honeymoon to promote the business of a German manufacturer whose name most Americans could express. only if they first filled their mouths with marble. He was A. Wernicke Maschinenbau Aktiengesellschaft of the German Hall. Hoodless responded to the ad, and in return, Maritzen meant a sum of $ 4,000 (more than $ 80,000 in modern dollars) that Hoodless could generate enough interest to create a factory in Caro.

On the one hand, Hoodless was in Charles Montague, a man of great wealth, as evidenced by the control of local telephone and lighting companies that loved both opportunity and technology in the nineteenth century. New features of technology at the turn of the century, and on the other hand, in Wernicke, eager to build a factory in the United States. For help, he turned to two friends, Fred Wheat, who had been associated with Montagues for many years through marriage and John Wilsey. Wheat was a lawyer, his wife was Maria Montague, sister of Charles Montague.

Hoodless then convened a citizens ’committee that became the forerunner of the Caro Sugar Company. Committee member Fred Slocum was also the editor of the Tuskola Magazine Ad and helped promote the idea in his news columns. A farmer from the Caro neighborhood, the Essexville experiment was signed by Charles Montague and his partner, banker John Seeley, became aware of the excitement they were earning at the coal mine. He was vice president of the Sebewaing Coal Company; An organization led by Spencer O. Fisher. He also participated in the Michigan Sugar Company in Essexville and later became president of the West Bay City Sugar Company.

After Montaga picked up the ball, he went to the final area without considering the competitive budget for the construction of the factory. In fact, Wernick’s representative, Max Schroeder, was on an excursion to Detroit on the evening of January 1899 for Montague and Seeley. The night was cold. The work done in the decision was hot. It was feared that other towns would have drilled Caro, diverting investment dollars away from Toskola County. Time was of the essence.

For a week, the city held its breath as the trio clashed with major Detroit financiers. Daniel Gutleben, in The Sugar Tramp-1954, reported that the organizing committee of Caro had received a telegram that the capitalist investment had been invested in the factory and that Wernicke had awarded him a contract for its construction. The “supreme” pandemonium prevailed according to Tuskola’s announcement. Seeley arrived alone on the train on Tuesday afternoon to tell a story, one that lives on in Caro’s memory, passed on to each subsequent generation and recorded in the chronicles of Daniel Gutleben. The story of how Charles Montague’s company has convinced some of the city’s big wheels and vendors is convincing at Michigan’s second beet sugar factory.

No one questioned the ability of Wernicke to build a plant four thousand miles from its base in a foreign country, where language, customs, and economic conditions differed markedly from the native countries. There was no experience in beet sugar factories or on the board of directors no one anticipated the need to hire corporate officers who had no such experience. After all, Wernicke was a sugar expert, claiming more than 200 projects, including one recently completed in Australia. No matter, Wernicke, excited to be doing the amuck, signed a contract that the new factory would split 500 tons of beets every day for at least thirty consecutive days, three cents a pound of sugar into six pounds per pound. per pound, retail.

A new factory, even if someone lacked the inconveniences of building a factory on a foreign land built, could have run 500 tons a day on its maid’s journey. Avoid construction problems always caused delays; proper tuning would deviate some cutting ability from a few weeks and sometimes a few months. In the mix the factory gangs were accustomed to chasing the plows or falling trees, questions with axes, motors, diffusers, vacuum pans and evaporators rather than perfect harmonies. A year earlier, builders at the Essexville factory had lost their guarantee of producing three-and-a-half-pound sugar for fifteen cents and paid for it with an expensive settlement for the courts, which Wernicke was unaware of or rejected at one point. unauthorized trust. In addition, Wernicke agreed to fund $ 300,000 at an estimated cost of $ 400,000.

It was a very budget for investors in Caro and Detroit. It improved over time. The town council, as an additional induction, purchased 100 acres of land on two plots, one of which belonged to Charles Montague, and gave it to the owners of the factory, one of whom was Montague. The Caro Water Company enjoyed the budget, free of charge, when it offered up to 500,000 gallons in the spring.

Caro did so, as a result of Montague’s energy and Hoodless’s ambition, and the will of a people who would not stay, found the beneficiary of a factory paid for by foreign investors. Prior to the original name of The Caro Sugar Company, the organizers had a par value of $ 10 with 30,000 shares that formed the Peninsula Sugar Refining Company on January 30, 1899. In August of the same year, the capitalization jumped to $ 500,000 and jumped again in February 1902 when it rose to $ 750,000. The last increase occurred in September 1902, when it rose to one million dollars, with a value of $ 100,000 per share.

The fundraiser was Charles Bewick of the Detroit industry; a few years later he invested in the sugar factory in East Tawas and Henry B. Joy, in 1905, president of the Packard Motor Car Company. Joy and her family members invested in sugar factories in Michigan, in Alma, Croswell and Bay City. His brother-in-law and founder of the Truman Newberry Packard Motor Car Company, he invested in Caro, and along with Joy, became a director of the company. Newberry’s fleeting reputation in 1918 would be the successful seat of the U.S. Senate in Michigan, defeating Henry Ford, another tycoon seeking the same position. (Newberry’s popularity lasted longer on the upper peninsula of Michigan. They named a town called Newberry to remember his father’s reflection, to cut down all the leaves he could find, and to turn them into coal.)

David Cady and Gilbert Lee, owners of the large wholesale food distribution in Detroit, controlled nearly five thousand shares. Gilbert Lee went to the chair of the presidency, and Henry Joy took over as vice president.

A few years later the Sugar Trust came to town and everything changed. The American company Sugar Trust was referred to in every newspaper as the Sugar Trust, in 1901 and 1902 it moved to Michigan on its back and began absorbing beet sugar factories. The defunct Charles Montague assembled the parts that made up the company with his energy and units. Also missing was John Seeley, his friend and partner. Richard Hoodless started it all, he never got on the list of shareholders.

By 1903, the list of shareholders reflected some of the major names in the Sugar Trust. Among them was Charles B. Warren, a lawyer for the American Sugar Refining Company, whose 22,001 shares had a 1904 shareholder list. The second shareholder in the ranking was Boston B., Boston, Massachusetts, a director of the American Sugar Refining Company, which held 15,667 shares. He would rise to the presidency of the Sugar Trust four years later after the death of Henry O. Havemeyer, its founder. Third was Lowell Palmer, an executive of the American company Sugar Refining, which held 10,126 shares. Together, the three controlled 48% of the Peninsula Sugar Refining Company. An interesting feature of the shareholder list was the lack of names of Caro residents, with the exception of a few sugar factory employees.

The American Sugar Refining Company, scattered in the daily press, prone to federal lawsuits for monopolistic tendencies and violations of the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act, was highly regarded by 13,000 shareholders who enjoyed a steady stream of dividends. Since 1894. The most underrated aspect of Sugar Trust was that companies under its jurisdiction would require it to produce high quality products at low cost and to do so by providing expert consultants who traveled from plant to plant distributing technical information. and staff, and inspect facilities.

But in 1899, the town of Caro’s interest was not in the realm of high finance or corporate philosophy, but hundreds of workers who needed planes, food and clothing, and other necessities and luxuries, to call the coffers to all registrars. town. Men, money, equipment and building materials were dumped into the hermitage. Forty-eight loaded equipment plus six million bricks and a thousand ropes of stones arrived in a row. Three hundred workers, earning fifty cents an hour from bricks, compared to fifteen cents from workers and five cents from electrician schools, created a bustle of activity when the snow melted in April and ended on October 23 with Superintendent Georg Bartsch, an expert in sugar manufacturing and crystallization. , won the workshop.

The performance guarantees of the new beet sugar factories worried those who dared to give in to the problem, and soon Wernicke would be screwed. The plant described by Gutleben, although it removed materials from American preferences, was the main one in the design of the factory. It consisted of four four-effect evaporators made of iron, combined with a combined heating surface of 8,911 square meters, two pans with a diameter of 9-1 / 2 feet x 13 meters in height, 753 square meters, and centrifuges using steam holes. for the final cleansing of the sugar. 700 cubic feet of refrigerated foot sprays and six refrigerators were installed on the floor of the bed, which improved rapid cooling. Nine water boilers equipped with mechanical stokers provided an adequate steam supply. The concrete flooring, by the standards of luxury day Michigan factories, distinguished luxury from the mud and clay beneath the factory.

Two notable differences between the American design factory and the German design resulted in an immediate race. The first was that the American leadership style called on the superintendents who coined the phrase, “manage your foot, not your seat,” to call a field marshal who was remotely commanded by the German method, who wanted to send lieutenants to gather information and dismiss and command management wisdom. .

Moreover, the European method of management required a great deal of secrecy between management and those who managed it, and moreover the technicians reserved their knowledge with themselves, with what they knew with their children, or with those who paid handsomely for instruction. The classified plant perfectly complied with the European management style. Therefore, the Caro factory consisted of several rooms or departments; communication between them was commissioned and the number of workers needed to operate the factory was increased. Messengers roamed the rooms sending orders and information, not always timely enough circumstances. The arrangement would later make it difficult to expand the plant; The expansion of one area usually occurred at the expense of another. The Kilby-built factories, created by Joseph Kilby of Cleveland, Ohio, many of the first sugar mill builders, conversely provided enough space to increase capacity in the next two generations of development by adding only five times less structures or bases.

Wernicker’s record, however, in view of its practicality and correctness. From March 1 to October 23, 1899, the German company sent a large part of the factory to Germany. After seven months in a foreign country that was relatively new to designing and building a complete operating facility in another country, it became the first of eight beet sugar factories built in Michigan in 1899. It then became the second factory to be built. In Michigan, after Essexville. The rules were in place in 1899 and a hundred years later, Wernicke’s achievement is positioned as a monumental achievement. Not only the usual ups and downs, the factory also operated and in some cases was better than any starting point that started that year.

Due to the loss of records, specifically the sugar content of treated beets, only the results of the first campaign can be calculated. Nearby Bay City reported thirteen percent sugar and eleven percent elsewhere in the state. Then, applying an average of twelve per cent to the crop harvested in Caro, the new factory has recovered 66% of the sugar in beets, compared to 61 per cent recovered in Benton Harbor, but in Alma the recovery has been less than 72%.

While the results have been encouraging, Wernicke has not failed to meet the three conditions set out in the contract. In fact, there have been failures that would quickly go into the woods. First, the factory did not slice 500 tons 30 days a day, as guaranteed. Second, the cost exceeded three cents per pound, and third, the factory was not ready for beets on September 1, 1899, as ordered. In addition, according to the company, the sugar produced lacked salinity and was lost a lot in the process. Wernicke then learned the litigious nature of Michigan’s pioneering sugar manufacturers.

The company may have considered Wernicke’s exceptional effort, unless the executives anticipated operating losses, as the State of Michigan decided to suspend payment of sugar generated from January 1, 1899. provided that a fee of one hundred euros per pound of sugar produced in Michigan was paid, but the High Court audited it constitutionally, then the decision was upheld by the State Supreme Court. The decision was a disaster for investors, with hundreds of percent of operating costs. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider the case, and the lower court’s decision allowed the wrong decision. The unearned money was $ 40,436; minimum displacement with approximately $ 65,000 loss.

When it came time to take Wernicke to court, the company’s directors chose Charles Evans Hughes as their legal attorney to serve as the Supreme Court’s chief justice. While preparing for court day with Wernicke, Hughes learned the German language and the beet sugar industry from the ground up so that he could cross paths with German engineers who appeared as expert witnesses. According to James Howell, a former superintendent of the Caro factory, who wrote a detailed account of the history of the Caro factory, Hughes spent a month in the Caro factory, exploring all the baskets and baskets, until he became an expert in its designs and functions.

According to Gutleben, the next court case was the loss of a $ 300,000 bond paid by Wernicke at seventy-five percent of the contract price for Wernicke’s construction of sugar factories in the United States. Howell, written six years before Gutleben, gave a slightly altered account. Wernicke said he sent $ 150,000 and forgave $ 125,000 in the construction contract.

Shortly afterwards, Oxnard Construction Company appeared in Caro due to changes in the plant. There was no material in relation to the original construction. The Americans made centrifuges, while American industrial tool companies, often referred to in the industry as “Amtool,” replaced German designs. A major change had nothing to do with the original design flaws. The removal of the sugar from the molasses was the addition of the Steffen process. The main problem at the time was the high proportion of sugar that escaped the manufacturing process and the days ended mixed with molasses. It remained in the syrup from the manufacturing process.

The financial results for the second year were impressive. Centrifuges and Steffens ’new processes (in an industry called Steffen’s House) proved worthwhile. Seven million pounds of sugar passed through the warehouse, a product of thirty-two thousand tons of sugar that contained 14 percent sugar. The factory extracted 243 pounds of sugar from each drop of sugar, a 35% improvement in the first year. Steff’s new process not only recovered the twenty tons of molasses sugar obtained daily, but also the molasses sugar left over from the previous crop.

Henry Oxnard founded the ruling dynasty in Caro

Henry Oxnard did more than redesign a factory when he applied his efforts to the problems at Caro; Not only did the Caro factory create a management dynasty that would permanently affect the U.S. beet sugar industry. Ten years earlier, in 1891, Henry Oxnard had hired the best and best technicians of the day to be hired from Germany and France to arrive in the Americas, forming the nucleus of a gang engaged in the preparation of American sugar. from beets.

After completing his first basic stint, Oxnard began serving in the mechanical engineering department. For general responsibilities for construction management, he turned to A. P. Cooper, Ames, a pioneer at the Nebraska factory, who worked as an assistant engineer. Cooper immediately went to the Caro plant and put in place a plan to effect the changes. He launched a set of writers who befriended Caro. It was Daniel Gutleben who would one day rise to the top of the factory operators, and later as a chronicler of beet history.

With the top two levels well positioned, Oxnard saw the location of a team of promising labs that lacked the right training but achieved the right level of satisfaction.

Charles Sieland, a thirty-six-year-old German native of Oxnard, oversaw the changes, except for an economic reward that ruled out the tendency for his countrymen to retain information. Henry Oxnard adopted the philosophy of information sharing. Caro, in his view, was not only a factory but also a university. A long list of factory technicians and managers began Caro’s careers under his tutelage and then shared the knowledge with others as they moved from factory to factory. One of them was William Hoodless, the son of Richard Hoodless himself who started throwing the ball to win a factory in Caro. A few years later, he took charge of all factory operations and soon accepted the presidency of the Pennsylvania Sugar Refinery in Philadelphia.

In 1906, the Sugar Trust consolidated most of Michigan’s sugar companies into the Michigan Sugar Company. The name of the first company to build a sugar factory in Michigan was revived. The new Michigan Sugar Company included Alma Sugar Company, Bay City-Michigan Sugar Company, Peninsular Sugar Refining Company, Carrollton Sugar Company, Croswell Sugar Company and Sebewaing Sugar Company. At the time, the Trust through a shareholder candidate had a large majority in the Blissfield Sugar Company built in 1905 a year earlier, and the East Tawas Sugar Company, which failed in 1904 as a business, was fined. It operated in Chaska, Minnesota, manufactured by the Sugar Trust in Chaska, Minnesota, for the next sixty-six years. The Carrollton Sugar Company also had an unsuitable Saginaw Sugar Company. It was also another factory built by Kilby. Sterling, Colorado, from 1905 to 1985. Carlos Warren took over the presidency of the Michigan Sugar Company. 1925.

Until 1920, the sun was on the Sugar Trust. After numerous attacks including the U.S. Department of Justice and the Interstate Trade Commission, the American Sugar Consolidation Company invested many of its components among private investors, thus freeing itself from the eyes of the Michigan Sugar Company. Board of Trustees. The post-trust board of directors was made up of Michigan residents. He was in no way associated with the president of the Sugar Trust, with the exception of President Charles B. Warren, whose interest was first as ambassador to Japan from 1921 to 1922, and then to the ambassador of Mexico in 1924. He lost his application to become U.S. attorney general in a politically charged Senate vote in 1925 due to an aversion to Warren’s Sugar Trust. His desire for a role in the public sector took him away from the office of president. William H. Wallace, the vice-president, 3d vice president and general manager. The first and second vice presidents fell for some hard blows on the list of shareholders who were not involved in day-to-day activities.

Caro survives time and change

Thanks to James Howell, Caro’s first director in 1944, who prepared a history recorded in 1948, it is known that Caro began accumulating beets in a fabulous yard in 1937, an important step after beets were delivered to the factory. while the needs of other crops were to supply beets as they were needed.

During the period 1928-1937, the Caro factory, like almost every sugar factory in Michigan, suffered the adverse effects of the Great Depression. However, from 1937 to the present, Caro reported continuous improvement in terms of modernization and expansion. White sugar centrifuges and a new pulp depot were added in 1944. A centrifuge is a device designed to separate sugar crystals in syrup, focusing on a screen that is filtered through the syrup (usually about 1,200 rpm) with a sufficient speed (usually about 1,200 rpm). encourages drilling in syrup in a round basket. The sugar crystals remain in the basket in syrup to recover too much of the sugar that is regenerated during the process. These and other changes have resulted in an average daily rate of expansion of more than 3,600 tons per twenty-four hours per 500 tons per day in the original design. As a result, the factory is relatively small compared to others in the United States. twice as large and four times as large.

If Caro has the secret to surviving for more than 100 years, Oxnard’s rebuilt factory has indeed remained so for many years and continues to do so as challenges arise, gaining the support of his community and changing when opportunities and opportunities come together. forced change. With things like that, the oldest surviving beet in the United States hangs in the fast-paced industry.


HOWELL, James, A History of the Caro Plant of the Michigan Sugar Company, Unpublished History of the Caro Factory, May 1, 1948

GUTTLEBEN, Daniel, The Sugar Tramp – 1954 pages Price: Members: In Stock For the purchase of sugar factories by the Sugar Trust p. 177 About the organization and results of the operation of Sebewaing Sugar, printed by Bay Cities Duplicating Company, San Francisco, California

MARQUIS, Albert Nelson, editor, The Book of Detroiters, pp. 465-468, A.N. Marquis & Company, Chicago, 1908 – About the biography of Charles B. Warren

MICHIGAN ANNUAL REPORTS, Michigan Archives, Lansing, Michigan:

It was introduced by the Peninsular Sugar Refining Company in 1904 and the Michigan Sugar Company in 1924

MOODY, John, The Truth about the Trusts, Sugar Trust In 1902 he began buying beet sugar companies and paying dividends between 1892 and 1900.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. In the United States District Court in the southern district of New York

United States vs. American Sugar Refining Co., et al. Page 1674, Petition Exhibition 1494

Copyright, 2009, Thomas Mahar, All rights reserved