George Isaac Whitlatch
Division of Industirla Development
Tennessee State Planning Commission
George Isaac Whitlatch did extensive work to find resources in TN. He published a few books regardiing the economic values of and where natural resources exist in TN. One of his first works was THE CLAYS OF WEST TN, and the importance of such minerals. In the 1820’s in America clays were used by pioneers to build homes, as well good for domestic-wares and bricks. In the 1874 book Killebrew and Safford Potteries (1874), it’s mentioned that many rich beds of potters clay of the finest quality exist in Henry Co., Tennessee. The father of the clay mining industry in west tn was Isadore Mandle, responsible for ball clay mining in Henry County, where 125 train cars per month were exported in 1897.
Prior to WWI, the bulk of the clays came from Europe. In the late 1930’s this started to change, and west TN and western KY mines accounted for more than 80 percent of the ball clay used in the United States.
Whitlatch conducted a state wide survey of the clay resources in TN, starting Fall of 1932 to the Summer of 1936. More than 525 samples were collected. Each were…show more content… Ferruginous clays from limestones, shale, and loess and other bedsrock are the most common types of clay in TN. Plastic sedimentary clays exist in Henry, Weakley, and Carroll Counties, and occur in beds of sand in ripley (cretaceous formations), Holly Springs, Grenada, and Jackson of Tertiary Formations. These clays can be 60 to 80 feet thick. Most of these type of clays are used for pottery or ceramic wares, such as ball, wad, or sagger clays. Most clays of west tn were deposited via lagoonal processes (Berry 1980, p. 8). PAGE 14 Due to Whitlatch, industries have come back to realize the value of the Porters Creek clays for ooil bleaching properties, and in the manufacturing of light weight