(KYTX) - Around the early 1900's, almost 80 basket companies existed in the East Texas-Louisiana border region for harvesting and transporting fruits and vegetables. Tonight in the Emmy award winning J.B.'sJournal, J.B. Smith shows us how one Jacksonville company has survived.
"This factory has been at this same spot since 1919."
For 94 years, the Texas Basket company in Jacksonville has turned logs into baskets.
"Baskets are made of soft hardwoods, mainly sweet gum trees, cottonwood trees,local to this area."
Baskets were needed to haul Jacksonville's popular tomatoes on train cars
to ship across the United States.
"In30's, 40's, as many as 400 carloads of tomatoes were shipped a year out ofCherokee County."
At one time there were four basket companies in Jacksonville but today
only this one remains open…building baskets the same way as they did in the past.
"The logs are debarked, cut to length to put on racks, steamed for 12 hours at night."
"A basket stave is assembled into a web of 16 staves, 14 layers of 4 each."
"It formed around a basket machine stapled heads, we manufacture, staple as it goes around, drop a basket every 7seconds."
Creating over 12,000 baskets a day….shipped to all 50 state sand all over the world.
In 1937, at the New London disaster…Jacksonville baskets were used during the rescue operation.
"A delivery was being made somewhere close to area when explosion happened, the driver stopped to help, used the baskets to haul all sorts of things."
A company that has stood the test of time….creating new baskets that can hold just about anything.
"Real unique operation, unique to Jacksonville, unique to East Texas." For CBS 19, I'm J.B. Smith and that's my story.
The Texas Basket company makes 500 types of baskets that are used in the agriculture industry, grocery stores and craft stores.
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