Railroads and Weed Killer - 1914
[RAILROADS -- WEED KILLER]. JONES, C.C. (Supervisor). Southern Railway. Atlas “A” weed killer and track preservative. [Promotional photo album]. New York & [Charlotte, NC]: Atlas Preservative Company of America, Inc., 95 Liberty St., Southern Railway, Charlotte Division, . Oblong folio. 15 x 11 in. 18 pp (unpaginated). Title stamped in gilt. With 26 photographs, sized from 2.5 x 4 in. “Before” photos, to 3.25 x 5 in. “After” photos, each w/ mounted mimeograph typescript sheet. Pebbled black cloth post-binder, punch sewn at gutter margin w/ black silk braid, rounded corners, NF exemplar. An intriguing photo album depicting the results of one of the most successful advertising campaigns in early 20th-Century railroad history and commerce. At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Century, the ever expanding railroad lines in the United States, especially those along the East Coast, and in the Southeast, were faced with ever rising costs to control vegetation along railroad tracks, especially as labor costs become prohibitive, and fire control methods only resulted in further fertilizing the soils and encouraging growth. This album documents the results of the chemical giant Atlas Preservative successfully introducing their Atlas “A” weed killer consisting of a 45 % solution of sodium arsenite, sprayed from a railroad car system similar to those developed and introduced by the R.G. Bogle Co. of Alexandria, VA in 1913. Many other chemical companies had tried to introduce chemical weed killers into the maintenance routines of railroads across the country with little success, until Atlas launched their Atlas “A” campaign in 1911. This album’s photos focus on the stations along the line of the Charlotte Division, showing locomotives, areas near particular stations, and the results of the successful applications. By the mid-20th Century, the environmental impacts upon the local water tables, nearby soils, and populations determined the extreme hazards of sodium arsenite, and in many cases were curtailed and regulated. No copies located in Worldcat; See: Report on Commercial Insecticides and Fungicides, Bulletin 272, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (1925); Reed, Griswold, French, et al, Advertising a Weed Killer to American Railway Officials, Advertising & Selling, Vol. 22 (Jan., 1918), pp. 18-20.