Below is a photograph of the hardworking employees from the Solid Fibre Department at O.B. Andrews Company in Chattanooga, TN. It’s dated December 2, 1941. In just five days the Japanese would bomb Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, igniting a world war. Photo by Tallent.
“The company was founded in 1912 by Oliver Burnside Andrews as the Andrews Paper Box Company. Mr. Andrews was a Chattanooga native, and son of Col. Garnett Andrews, a former mayor of Chattanooga.
The company grew from an initial investment of $25,000 to produce more than $1,500,000 in annual revenue. Its products included packaging as well as cardboard novelties such as “Alice in Wonderland” playhouses that it produced during the Great Depression. Andrews signed a contract with Disney to make cardboard toys of Mickey Mouse.
O. B. Andrews was listed in the 1913 Hale-Merritt History of Tennessee, Volume VII. A portion of his entry reads, “The vitality of Chattanooga industrial life is well-illustrated by the number of vigorous young men who are continually entering the field and giving their best talents and energies to building up and maintaining the high position which the city has already won as a manufacturing center.”
In addition to running his cardboard company, O. B. Andrews was very involved in the Chattanooga community. He organized the Chattanooga Baseball Club in 1909 and later moved the club from Chamberlain Field to Andrews Field, where Engel Stadium now stands. Andrews also worked with Mayor T. C. Thompson to establish the city’s Children’s Hospital. After the floods of 1917-18 inundated much of the city, including the location of his cardboard plant, he served on a flood prevention committee of the County Court. Along with Garnet Carter, he developed the Fairyland subdivision on Lookout Mountain.”– Harmon Jolley remembers the company in a Chattanoogan article in 2005.