In honor of the 2016-2017 Georgia History Festival, “A State of Innovation,” the December #MarkerMonday posts will focus on Charles Holmes Herty, naval stores, and agricultural innovation in Georgia.
This week’s #MarkerMonday looks at the experiment that revolutionized the naval stores industry in the United States. The naval stores industry originated in North Carolina during the mid to late eighteenth century and began migrating to Georgia in the 1890s to take advantage of virgin pine trees, used in the production of turpentine. Following the move, Georgia became a leading producer of turpentine in the country, but this dominance started to drop off after 1905.
The decline in Georgia’s turpentine industry was linked to the primitive harvesting methods of the time which often left pine trees damaged or destroyed in the process. Taking note of the used in the United States and inspired by conservative gum resin gathering methods employed in Europe, Dr. Charles Herty, a chemist at the University of Georgia, devised a new method of harvesting resin needed to make turpentine. On July 20, 1901, Dr. Herty and his assistant, Frank Klarpp, hung a metal cup and gutters on their first pine tree, beginning their experiment. The cup and gutter system proved successful. Herty’s experiment also led to the development of the clay Herty cup because of problems with the metal cups used. The turpentine industry saw renewed productivity, and Georgia regained its place of prominence in the world naval stores market. From the 1890s through World War II, Savannah and Brunswick were the world’s leading ports of shipment for naval stores thanks to the turpentine industry. Not only did Herty revolutionize the American naval store industry, but he also created the first system to manufacture newsprint from pine trees.
Explore the links below to learn more about Dr. Charles Herty and the naval stores industry.
GHS is proud to house a several photographs from the Foltz Photography Studio of Charles Herty’s experimental paper lab in the Georgia Historical Society Digital Image Catalog (search keywords “Herty” and “experimental lab”). GHS is also proud to house one of Charles Herty’s clay Herty cups.
Dr. Charles Holmes Herty is one of GHS’ Featured Historical Figure for the 2016-2017 Georgia History Festival. Check out GHS’ online learning materials.