Wright Automatic Tobacco Packing Machine Company

Date Founded
Business / Organization Type
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Richard H. Wright, at one time associated with the Dukes' ambitions to monopolize the tobacco industry before the relationship soured, had continued to work to secure control of tobacco production and packaging machinery, even after dissolution of the partnership with the Dukes. After working to secure the rights to the Bonsack cigarette machine, and securing North American rights to a tobacco package wrapping machine from the Rose Bros. of Gainesborough, England, he established the Wright Automatic Tobacco Packing Machine Company to produce packaging and wrapping machinery. One source notes that the company was established by the 1890s; however, it does not appear to have been a physical operation until 1930. After establishment of the factory on Calvin St., it was noted to be "one of the pioneers in the South in the manufacture of automatic packaging machinery." (I'm not sure that there were copious packing machinery manufacturing companies in the south contending for this title.)

The name of the company was soon changed to Wright's Automatic Machinery Company. During World War II, the company, again renamed as Wright Machinery Company, worked with the Sperry Corporation to manufacture "gun-fire control instruments for the US Navy." The large plant at Holloway St. was constructed for this, and employment peaking at more than 1000 people during the war. One previous commenter has posited that is the plant manufactured triggering mechanisms for bombs during the war. The plant received "four of the coveted Nacy 'E' awards for efficiency" during the war.

Interior shot of the plant, 1966
(Courtesy The Herald-Sun Newspaper)

In 1969, the Wright company moved to Camden Avenue.

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