With Frost at Waskom (Gulf Coast Lumberman, ca. 1937-1941)  
  Source: "With Frost at Waskom", Gulf Coast Lumberman, unknown date. Bound in a scrapbook in the collection of Lester Haines. Other articles in the scrapbook have a date range of 1937-1941.  
Frost Lumber Company at Waskom, Texas  
The planing mill is a modern one and a fast-working piece of equipment.  
  With Frost at Waskom  

Frost Lumber Industries, of Shreveport, La., operate nine modern sawmill plants. Each of these mills is entirely different from each of the others, all of them strive for modern and ingenious methods of making better lumber and serving the trade better, and each of them does some interesting tricks that none of the others imitate. All of them operate on a basis of the fundamentals laid down by the management, yet each is in some fashion unique, even in its own group.

One of the very fine Frost mills is at Waskom, Texas. It is just a few yards west of the line that separates Texas from Louisiana, and is just a few miles west of Shreveport, Louisiana.

As you drive up the highway to the office of the Waskom mill (which office is right on the south side of the highway) the first thing that catches your eye is a gasoline service station across the street from the office. It is one of the most attractive stations you ever saw anywhere, all the visitor instinctively turns to look at it. It justifies the survey. It is a swell. gasoline station. It belongs to Frost Lumber Industries. They built and equipped it, and it is a very successful unit of the Waskom operation. You see, the gasoline tax is 4 cents a gallon higher in Louisiana than in Texas, and people driving West usually wait until they get across the Texas line to fill their tanks. Ten galIons saves forty cents. So the Frost gasoline station, well managed and operated and hand- somely trimmed on the interior with stained and rubbed-down Yellow Pine finish, does a flourishing business.

Frost Lumber Company at Waskom, Texas  
Left: Fred Wilson, Superintendent at Waskom; Right: John L. Avery, Frost's General Sales Manager.  

Fred Wilson, a veteran Frost organization man, is the superintendent of the Waskom plant, and makes a swell job of it.

There are many other things about Waskom that are interesting, in a lumber way. For instance, when visitors left that mill after a day with Mr. Wilson, one of the things that stuck in their memory was the way they wrap and sell their mouldings, as demonstrated in the dressed shed personally by Sales Manager John L. Avery. They ship their mouldings in paper packages that entirely protect the contents from dust and dirt. The lumber dealer stacks them in his shed with the paper intact. When he sells mouldings, he opens one end of the package, removes the amount desired, then wraps the paper over the end again. In this way, he keeps his mouldings continually packaged against dust and dirt, always bright and appealing to the eye of the buyer. There is a fine merchandising thought there.

Another thing that stays long in the memory of Waskom is the re-manufacturing plant. This unit stands on the railroad track just off one end of the planing mill. Here they bring all the lumber that comes from the kilns or sheds that is not just as it should be, crooked, warped, thin, thick, mismanufactured, or in any way not up to Frost standards. Here they work it over, and get out of it all the good, straight, useful lumber it will produce. Nothing else comes out of this unit. They have a straight line edger, a resaw, a trimmer, edger, ripsaw, and various other equipment that enables them to rip, cut, trim, straighten, and otherwise make merchantable lumber out of misfit stock.

Frost bought this plant from Waterman in 1928. It was six years old at that time. They immediately put the Frost touch to it, and modernized and improved it from stem to stern. They put in a new power plant, several new boilers including one huge one of the water tube type, a big Allis Chalmers electrical unit, and they electrified the plant so that everything but the main sawmill itself is powered with direct connected electrical units. They made other changes and modernizations throughout the plant in every department. The sawmill is equipped with two bands and a gang. It cuts both Yellow Pine and Hardwood. One band cuts hardwood. The other cuts pine and also slabs cants for the gang. The gang transforms these cants into rift-sawn boards for flooring, etc. Al the equipment is extremely modern. There are two edgers, one for each side. The trimmer is operated by air, and performs beautifully.

The hardwood is taken off the chains at the tail of the mill, loaded on dollies, and hauled by mules to the hardwood yard, where it is piled for drying. The pine goes to the automatic stacker, where it is stacked on kiln cars, and sent through the dry kilns. They have a splendid kiln equipment that takes care of the entire pine output, consisting of six modern kilns, one of them a Moore Cross Circulation type kiln. From the kilns the pine goes to a battery of big rough lumber sheds for storage.

The planing mill is extremely modern, including an end-matched flooring unit that is their pride and joy. They save everything from the sawmill and the planing mill that will make clear flooring, and run it through this machine, then bundle and tie it. Sales Manager Avery says that this product enjoys a steady demand, yet is made from stock that would be simply waste without this unit. In one corner of the planer they operate their own grain door plant.

Another department of the planer is the packaging department. Here in a room built tight against dirt and soot, they operate a sander, and here they prepare their package stuff for market. They sand and wrap mouldings, casing and base, finish, trim, etc. All wrappings are done in. attractive bundles that carry the Frost name in bright letters.

A new installation in the planing mill at Waskom is a double-end trimmer that squares and brightens and smoothes the ends of the products of the mill, making them much more attractive to the eye and the touch. H. W. Whited, of Nacogdoches, is general manager of the Texas group of Frost mills, which includes Waskom, Nacogdoches, and Jasper. He is a frequent visitor at Waskom, and together with Mr. Wilson and Sales Manager John L. Avery, goes over every item of manufacture and operation with a studious eye. They think they have a great mill at Waskom. There seems to be ample proof of that opinion.

Text and images were digitized and proofread from the original source documents by Murry Hammond. Contact Murry for all corrections, additions, and contributions of new material.