In the process of cleaning the letterpress type drawers we received from the Galloway family, I noticed that the bottoms of several drawers had delaminated. Looking underneath I discovered several eight legged critters hiding so I decided to check all the drawer bottoms. A couple of the drawers had the legend Jackson G. Smith, Barnesville GA painted on them. Since Sam Galloway's presses were nearly 50 years old by the time he had his shop on Main Street, we were curious where they had been before Sam started his letterpress business. According to Betty, Sam's daughter he probably purchased his type and presses from a used equipment dealer in the area.
We did an internet search and found a wealth of information about Jackson G. Smith from the city of Barnesville website. Jackson G. Smith is the name of one of Barnesville's leading citizens at the turn of the 20th Century and owner of the J.G. Smith Buggy factory. During the late 19th and early 20th Century, Barnesville GA was known as the Buggy Capital of the South.
Now doesn't it seem likely that a factory in a town where over 9,000 buggies were produced annually in 1900 would have it's own printshop for business and marketing? While we don't know if Sam's press also came from Barnesville, it certainly is possible, since it was manufactured in 1902. The heyday of buggy manufacturing ended as the automobile replaced the horse and buggy and that would explain why the type and presses ended up in Sam's shop in Kennesaw years later. The Jackson G. Smith Factory and commissary building still stands in downtown Barnesville according to the City of Barnesville Website.