Morley Cypress Company, profiled in Locomotive World magazine, October, 1914 issue.  
  Source: "Louisiana Cypress Operation", Locomotive World Vol. VII, No. 6 (Oct. 1914), pp. 3-7. Lima, Ohio: Franklin Type and Print. Co., 1914. Original courtesy New York Public Library.
  Morley Cypress Company
Morley, Louisiana

In the report of the Forestry Department of the Louisiana Conservation Commission published last May, it is stated that "Louisiana is the second state in the Union in the extent of its standing timber, being surpassed only by the state of Washington; that it possesses about 75 per cent of all of the Cypress standing in the United States.”

The 1912 census report, which is the most recent bulletin published, shows that there are 460 mills in operation in the state of Louisiana and the annual production of the different varieties of wood from these mills cypress ranks second; yellow pine being the first with 2,928,632,000 feet and cypress 653,737,000 feet.

In the statistical report issued by the Forest Service of the U. S. Department of Agriculture showing annual consumption of wood by the wood manufacturing industries gives cypress the tenth in the list and the consumption being 683,023,589. These general figures are given only to show that cypress ranks high in the different varieties of wood in this country.

The Morley Cypress Company which is located at Morley, Louisiana, is made up of Mr. H. T. Morley, President and General Manager, and Mr. L. M. Morley, Secretary and Treasurer. The office of the Morley Cypress Company is located in the Parish of West Baton Rouge, 95 miles from New Orleans on the Texas and Pacific Railway. Its nearest neighboring town is Plaquemine, a distance of ten miles. The town of Morley is unique in that the colored section of the town is separated from the white by a Bayou. There are about forty houses, Morley Cypress Company’s store, dance hall, moving picture theater and doctor’s office in the white town. There are about 125 houses, one church and a dance hall in the colored town.

The Morley Cypress Company’s Sawmill is of frame construction with metal roof and corrugated iron siding, its dimensions are 43 by 175 feet, built of pine timber and concrete foundation. Off on a wing 45 feet by 75 feet from the main building they have installed a shingle and lath mill. Their power house is constructed entirely of brick and the equipment consists of four 72 x 18' boilers, 150 H. P. each; a 24 by 28 Hamilton Corliss Engine, together with electric light plant of sufficient capacity to light the entire plant and town.

The machinery in the saw mill consists of an Allis-Chalmers 9 foot heavy band mill, Pacific Coast type, wheels 9 feet in diameter by 12-1/2" face with 14" saws. This mill has a 60" opening between guides. There is also one No. 2 Allis Timber Edger, 72" lumber space, having six movable saws shifted by means of wrought iron levers, complete with front and back tables. This mill is served with one left hand Allis-Chalmers No. 00 60" opening carriages with three cast steel blocks and knees in cast steel racks and pinions with power set work.

One direct acting steam feed cylinder 12" diameter, 42 feet long equipped with Allis-vertical 5" steam feed valves. Two Allis pneumatic spring cushion carriage buffers 16" x 24" are placed at each end of carriage run. Heavy live rolls 12" x 30" with steel mitres with angle boxes and drivers. At the log deck there is one extra heavy double geared log jack with 3-arm log kicker with 3-arm log loader; One Allis oscillating steam nigger for turning logs on the carriage and one overhead log canter. necessary transfers to and from the edger are supplied.

One 6-saw over cut slab slasher complete with table floor chains, and one 10-saw overhead Allis trimmer complete with table, and having friction and gear drive feed works, saw being operated by hand levers, also timber trim saw in main rolls carrying 48" saws. This completes most of the machinery on the sawing floor with the exception of the shingle mill machinery and lathe mill machinery which was supplied by the Challoner Company of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

All the transmission and conveying machinery was supplied by the Allis-Chalmers Company.

The planing mill is of open frame construction 80 by 125 feet equipped with surfacer, matcher, two resaws, two rip saws and cut off saw. All this machinery was furnished by the S. A. Wood Machine Company of Boston, Mass. The matcher and planer is known as their No. 404 size 19" x 6". The surfacer is known as their No. 450 fast feed double surfacer 30" x 6". In addition to the above equipment they have a Woods No. 226, 36" automatic knife grinder. The safety appliances on the machines is a distinctive feature on the Woods machinery. There are iron guards which are connected by board guards running from one to the other protecting the cylinder pulleys and cutter head drive pulleys. The importance of this is readily appreciated when We mention that with the countershaft running from 900 to 950 R.P.M. and the cylinder pulleys anywhere from 3000 to 3400, it can be readily seen that if the belt should break what the danger would be to things in general, let alone the extent to which the operator would be injured.

The power for driving this machinery is a 14" x 36" Frick Corliss engine. They do not use dry kilns, all their lumber being air dried, making their product, when ready for shipment, of the highest and most satisfactory quality.

The timber holdings of the Morley Cypress Company consist of 20,000 acres of cypress and hardwood. Cypress predominates, there being a limited quantity of hardwood. It is understood that their timber will average about 8,000 feet to the acre and is of good solid material.

They operate a railroad 12 miles long, of standard gauge and built of 40 pound steel. For hauling they have two Shay locomotives, one a 24-ton and the other an 18-ton. They also have a small saddle tank engine. They started operating in 1907 and since that time the 24-ton Shay locomotive has done all of their main line hauling, making three trips per day with 12 to 16 cars to the trip and 2500 feet to the load. The 18-ton Shay locomotive is used in the woods for spotting cars and handling their logging machinery. The small saddle tank locomotive is used in spotting around saw mill yard. Their road is built practically on a level and as usual, among most cypress roads, is very roughly laid down.

Their logging machinery is a Lidgerwood 10" by 12" inter locking type with cableway skidder and loader with a 9"x l0" 4-drum loading engine. This method of loading is peculiar in that the cypress skidded in a distance varying from 600 feet to 715 feet, while being suspended over-head, and only one end slightly touching the ground. This appears to be the only successful method utilized today for loading cypress timber where it is possible to railroad same. By the use of an overhead cable and an engine which has been patented by the Lidgerwood company, especially for cableway work, very high speed is secured in skidding logs, and the character of the country has absolutely no effect on the resuits secured. This skidder is capable of maintaining a capacity of 40,000 to 45,000 feet per day and if equipped with the latest patent slack puller it is believed that in anything near average cypress timber a daily capacity of 60,000 feet could be obtained.

We also understand from Mr. Morley that they are using a ground skidder made by the Russell Wheel & Foundry Co., of Detroit, Michigan.

They have on their road 36 skeleton logging cars and at their plant they have a completely equipped machine shop and locomotive shed.

As stated above, back of the mill runs a typical Louisiana Bayou which performs the double purpose of acting as a log pond and also separates the white population from the colored. Messrs. Morley have been very thoughtful in providing them with various forms of amusement and have a complete billiard and pool room, barber shop and bath for their employees. They are working about 250 men.

One very peculiar point about this cypress operation which is not found at other plants, is that they bring in all the Spanish moss which is ordinarily found hanging from cypress trees and run it through a moss gin. It is then cleaned and prepared for commercial service. This material is principally used in all kinds of upholstering.

The capacity of their mill is as follows:

Sawmill 55,000 feet, per day, 50,000 shingles, 25,000 lath.

The illustrations herein will give the readers an idea of the extent of their plant and operations.

Attention is especially called to the character of the railroad track in the views “Shay locomotive and water tank cars” and “Tram railroad through cypress timber and Shay locomotive.” Another illustration which ns interesting is that of the cypress logs showing the size of the cypress timber which they are cutting.

Considering that Cypress is probably the slowest growing of all American timber trees it is quite evident that the red cypress timber which is being manufactured by the Morley Cypress Company is many years old and they are producing some of the best cypress lumber in the state.

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