Biographical / Historical
Reportedly one of the oldest and largest fertilizer manufacturers in the United States during the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries, Baugh & Sons Company was founded in 1855 by John Pugh Baugh (?-1882) and two of his sons, Edwin P. Baugh (?-1888) and Daniel Baugh (1836-1921) in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Some company materials claim a founding date for the "House of Baugh" in 1817, which is probably based on the fact that the family was initially engaged in the tanning industry near Paoli, Pennsylvania. Baugh manufactured a variety of ground bone-based agriculture fertilizers that were tailored for a wide range of crops. They later expanded into the manufacture of animal charcoal, glue, and chemicals. Baugh's corporate offices were located at the Delaware River Chemical Works on South Delaware Avenue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with offices in Baltimore, Maryland and Norfolk, Virginia. Baugh operated manufacturing plants in Baltimore, Maryland at Canton in Baltimore harbor; Oneida, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the Delaware River at the foot of Morris and Moore Streets; Canton, Ohio; Galveston, Texas, and Norfolk, Virginia at Burton's Point.
A visitor to the Delaware River works reportedly wrote this description of the plant, "I have just inspected the Baugh Fertilizer Works on the Delaware River. I saw many large buildings, much machinery and numerous workmen. There was business activity everywhere; but, more than anything else, I saw bones. The whole placed suggested animal bones. There were bones in heaps, in sheds, on carts, on ships. There were bones whole and bones crushed; and bone ground, ready for shipment. I learned that the annual sales of Baugh's brands aggregate nearly 100,000 tons; which would be six thousand freight-car loads. I was told that these bones came from everywhere: from North America and from South America; from the West Indies and even from the East Indies. It was intimated that the present big bone heaps would soon be bigger, owing to incoming cargoes, but the statement made no impression on me." Baugh's Farmer's Almanac for 1903, page 14.
By the early twentieth century Baugh products were widely available from a network of independently owned farm supply stores. Baugh carried trade brands for each of its primary regions in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Norfolk. Baugh also exported products to England, France, Germany, and other countries. In its yearly almanacs they suggested the appropriate brand of Baugh fertilizer for specific crops and in some almanacs printed farmer testimony as well as photographs of crops grown with Baugh fertilizers.
Baugh Chemical Company was purchased by Kerr-McGee Oil Industries, Incorporated in 1963. Kerr-McGee ceased to exist as an independent entity in 2006 when purchased by Houston, Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corporation.