Barker Chemical Plant – Inglis Florida

Warehouses of the Barker Chemical Company - Inglis Florida

The first recorded information about the Barker Chemical Company is found in the American Fertilizer magazine dated May 1904. This Reference states that the company was organized by the Dunnellon Phosphate Company and J. Buttgenbach and Company.

The Dunnellon Phosphate Company was organized in 1889, when vast amounts of hard rock phosphate were found in the vicinity of this little community. Captain John L. Inglis who had distinguished himself on Civil War Battlefields, was president of the new company. Its first shipments were made to Hamburg, Germany and London, England, in 1890, beginning a very lucrative trade. By 1911, the company was operating twelve plants.

The Barker Chemical Company was to utilize the low grade hard rock phosphate to produce acid phosphate from 14% to 18%. Port Inglis Terminal Co. would supply steel constructed sea-going barges and tugs to transport the acid phosphate in bulk to Pensacola, Mobile, New Orleans, Galveston and all gulf and south Atlantic ports.

Untreated hard rock phosphate was first roasted (dried). the iron pyrites (imported from Spain) were roasted separately driving off sulfuric acid. the acid was applied to phosphate and allowed to cure. The curing process took about a month and the material was kept in a large warehouse of about 500 feet by 150 feet.

The Barker Chemical Company ran ads for its acid phosphate in American Fertilizer almost continuously from April 1906 until May 3, 1924, after which no further ads appeared. It’s Sales office, was in Savannah, Georgia. Captain Inglis’ partner Ralph Barker was the president of the company, Robert S. Cope was Vice President and General Manager, and W.W Mallard was the Sales Manager.

John Inglis made several trips to New York where partners Ralph Barker and Edgar Auchincloss had offices. While in New York Inglis would purchase jewelry for his wife who had an amethyst and pearl necklace and pin which she always wore and several diamonds.

Source: Withlacoohee Notes by A Dix Stephens published by author 2005.

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