• An early photo of the Gouinlock, or Hutchinson Salt Works, plant in operation.


Saturday, March 24, 1888

First Salt Manufactured West of the Mississippi

Gouinlock & Co's Manufactory in Successful Operation.

The Quality the Best and the Supply Inexhaustible

Birth of an Industry the Immensity of Which Cannot be Fully Calculated

It Means More for Hutchinson than the Wildest Boomer Has Ever Dared to Claim


The Works Visited Yesterday by Thousands of Spectators - The Doubting Thomases Have Crawled Into Their Holes and Closed the Entrances Behind them - No More Uncertainty, but a Great, Big Fixed Fact: It is There and the Bonanza is Ours.


When it was announced last fall through the Associated Press that salt had been discovered by Ben Blanchard in South Hutchinson many were the jeers and taunts of the newspapers of the outside world, and especially those of our many jealous rivals. The news sent out that salt existed in large quantities under Hutchinson was claimed to have been originated for boom purposes. But now these reports have been shown to have been true by the tests made yesterday.

A few years ago a well Was sunk at Solomon City, but as the chemical analyses all proved the salt impure, it was found best lo abandon the project of manufacturing. Therefore, the first salt ever successfully manufactured west of the Mississippi River was that made yesterday by Dr. W.C. Gouinlock, of the Hutchinson Salt Works.

The plant is not thoroughly completed, and but one pan was working yesterday. From this one pan a quantity of the finest and purest salt ever manufactured in America was turned out.

The tanks had been filled Thursday and that evening fires were started and the brine run into the pan. Yesterday morning at eight o'clock the first salt manufactured in the west was drawn off, and found to be of the purest grade, better than that made at Warsaw, N.Y., where Mr. Gouinlock has been engaged in the manufacture for twenty years.

The works were visited all day by citizens citizens and strangers, and it was estimated last evening that over 5,000 people had Visited them and most every one took away a small package of Hutchinson salt.

Dr. Gouinlock, the proprietor of the first salt works of the west, has proved himself a man of indomnitable pluck and energy. Last fall he came to Ellsworth, Kan., and bought property in that city for the purpose of prospecting for salt. While perfecting arrangements he heard of Ben Blanchard's discovery of salt in South Hutchinson, und he immediately started for this city. At this time he was engagedd in the salt manufature in Warsaw. He bought the land where his works are now located and started back east for his machinery.

About November 15 he began sinking his well, and on December 19, about a month after, he struck salt at a depth of 425 feet, the deposit being about 200 feet thick. On January 10 he was pumping brine and testing it.

Several analyses were made, which found the salt to be of unparallelled purity. The following is the result of the analysis of the Santa Fe chemist:

Sodium chloride - pure salt ..........99.80

Calcium sulphide.......................0.10

Magnesium sulphate.....................0.05

Insoluble matter.......................0.04



The second analysis made was by F.W. Clark, chief chemist of the Interior department of the United States. Here is his answer:

Chloride of sodium.................98.19

Sulphate of lime....................1.47

Insoluble matter....................0.28

Chloride of magnesia................0.06



The analysis of the chemist of the Rose Polytechnic Institute at Terra Haute found it to be 99.77 per cent pure salt.

These were all remarkable showings towards the purity of the Hutchnson salt, and all the more astonishing when it is known that the greater part of the salt now in use in the United States shows but 95 per cent purity.

The purity of this salt has attracted the attention of tbe old salt

makers of tbe United States and Europe. About three weeks ago the Wyoming and New York salt and mining companies began sinking wells. The machinery of the Wyoming plant is on the cars, and will be on the ground tomorrow. The whole plant will cost $100,000.

The New York salt company will mine, and a shaft will be sunk, which will necessitate an outlay of $1,000,000. Other salt manufacturers of the east are in the city, and an English representative is expected this week.

As to the disposition of this salt, Mr. Gouinlock has received orders which will cover the supply for two months ahead. He says the daily enpacity will be easily 600 barrels per day. He is certainly to be congratulated on his successful undertaking. 'Tis only about three months since he began work on his plant, and now he is making as pure a salt as has ever been manufactured. His pluck and patience has acted as an Incentive for the other companies now working. All his work has been done quietly and in order. Host of the time he was laboring under difficulties —- in the middle of winter, shipments of material were slow -— but today he comes forth with the best salt manufactory in the United States, producing the purest and richest salt, and able to supply the

demand from the Ohio river to the Pacific ocean.

Of its benefit to Hutchinson it is impossible to realize. Her fame has already gone forth to the world, and though it may be claimed that salt exists in other localities in the west, the fact is too prominent to be overlooked that Hutchinson is the first to produce it.

To-day we will be eating Hutchinson salt. The mail service will be utilized by thousands of Hutchinson's people in sending it broadcast, and the orders will begin to come in.