By; Louise Shallenberger
Tioga Mills, Inc. was founded in 1908 by Arthur C. Palmer. He chose Waverly as the location of the Mills because of the opportunity for direct connection with three trunk line railroads, the Lehigh Valley, the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western and the Erie. This permitted Tioga to obtain thier supplies and to reach a greater number of buyers under " Milling to Tansit " than any other site east of Buffalo.
At it's incorporation, the mill was named the Tioga Mill and Elevator Company. It's goal was to manufacture only the finest and most dependable feeds that scientific knowledge and skill could produce. Because of " Milling to Transit ," the feeds could only be marketed east of Waverly - eastern New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New England.
Feeds were manufactured for all types of farm animals and birds. Tioga pioneered in treating seed oats for sale on a commercial basis.
On Oct. 1, 1926, Tioga consolidated with Empire Grain and Elevator Company of Binghamton and was renamed Empire Feed Mills, Inc. In the mid 30's the " Empire Feed " was dropped from the name and the concern became Tioga Mills, Inc.
By 1920, Tigoa had the capacity to store 10,000 tons of stacked feed, 150,000 bushels of bulk grain, 240,000 gallons of molasses. There were 1 ¼ miles of railroad switches. Twenty - eight freight cars could be handled at one time. The maximum output of actual shipments outbound was 22 cars in a single day, with the normal output about 12 cars. In addition to the outgoing shipments, an equal amount of incoming tonnage had to be handled.
Feed manufacturing is not labor intensive. There were about one hundred people employed in Waverly - almost equally divided between plant workers and those in sales and office work.
In the late 20's Tioga established a chain of feed stores in Eastern New York and Pennsylvania. At one point, there were 13 of them.
In 1935, the Jem Animal Food Corporation was purchased. This was a manufacturer of quality dog and puppy foods. Tioga created a national market for these foods with more being sold in California than any state. The dog food division was eliminated during W.W. - 2 because of the high amount of protein it required that could be better used, under war conditions, in feeds for farm animals and birds.
During the late 1930's , sales, particularly of poultry and turkey rations, in the Delmar Peninsula, led to the eatablishment of a subsidiary plant in Sunbury, Pa. and a plant in Showrll, Delaware. This was done to meet the need for additional " Milling to Transit " for Delaware and Maryland that could not be met in Waverly.
Following W.W.-2, the Palmer interests were sold to C.B. Dounce, Sr., Frisbie Howard, Paul Chantler, N.P. Dounce, and M.N. Combs. Changing conditions in transportation eventually led to Waverly losing the advantages of it's location and Tioga Mills passed into history.
From 1943 - 73, Tioga supplied feed to the New England States, Va., Del, and Md. from their three mills. Manufacturing ceased in 1973.
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Ernie Miles...... This page was updated Wednesday, 26-Mar-2008 06:45:39 PDT.