EARLY HISTORY OF TEXASGULF SULPHUR COMPANY
( 1918 thru 1947)
In 1909 some St. Louis, Missouri, and Bay City , Texas men organized the Gulf Sulphur Company with a small capitalization and drilled a series of test wells on the portion of the dome which they held . Among these local men was John M. Corbett, who became chief until his retirement on July 1, 1945. The drilling indicated the presence of a large body of sulphur, but the cost of this work proved that great financial assistance was necessary to acquire the remainder of the dome and bring the deposit into production
Bernard M. Baruch, financier, and Seeley W. Mudd, well known and extensive mine operator, were interested in 1910 by the local group. In 1916 these two men and associates acquired control and contributed capital for property purchase and development. An exploration campaign was started with Colonel Mudd as president and Dr. George S. Hennenbruch as general manager of the reorganized company.
When the United States, in 1917, entered the first world war, Colonel Mudd resigned to go into was work. Walter H. Aldridge became president. H F.J.Knobloch, secretary and treasurer, and Charles Biesel, general manager. Soon the requirement of a large tonnage of sulphur for military purposes became so apparent the Company, now the Texas Gulf Sulphur Company, commenced, on August 13, 1918, at the request of the Federal Government, the construction of a plant 10,000 boiler horsepower. With the aid of priority orders for materials and with private capital exclusively, the plant was completed in the shortest time possible.
The first production was made on March 19, 1919. Considering the magnitude of the investment and the fact that sulphur production was an entirely new field of endeavor for the officers and management, this was one of the greatest days in the history of the Company. But the war was ended and production came on a market now over-supplied by the two older sulphur companies. Jubilation over technical success soon changed to business worry. The trouble was soon solved, however, by the Company's president, W..H. Aldridge, who found new outlets with the sulphuric acid plants which before the was used pyrite.
Two more Texas salt domes now enter the history of our Company. On August 21, 1923, Gulf Production Company completed its No. 1 Bay well on the Missouri Land Company Subdivision, Wharton County. This well produced nothing, but it was the discovery well of the Boling dome, the largest Gulf Coastal salt dome containing the largest sulphur deposit ever found. Drilling here was not induced by topography, as at Gulf (originally called Big Hill), but because of hydrogen sulphide gas showings. In 1924, a Gulf Production Company seismograph crew located a hidden salt dome on a lease block in Fort Bend County held by Pathfinder Oil Company and others. The discovery well, No 1, J. H. P. Davis & Co., was completed in December of that year. It not only proved the existence of a salt dome but showed a little sulphur. This dome was named Long Point.
Looking to the future, the Company, on the advice
of the geological department, acquired mineral fee on Boling and Long Point
and in 1927 bought from Gulf Production Company the sulphur lease rights
on both of these domes. It also acquired the sulphur lease rights of Texas
Company and others at Boling. During the time of this expansion Charles
Biesel retired as general manager and was succeeded by H. E. Treichler.