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Foree Hood and the brief saga of Sal-Lac


Early 1926 found the American economy red hot and roaring; the Columbia Town Board enjoying new digs on the second floor of the Paull Drug Co.; and Adair native Foree Hood making an announcement.

An article, several column-inches in length and tucked away under an innocuous headline, graced the back page of the January 19 edition, stated that for a year or thereabout, Mr. Foree had been "experimenting with a new paint product of his own discovery and invention, for barns and other outbuildings." He had taken a sample of same to an unnamed chemist, who, according to The News, proclaimed the product to have the same attractiveness in appearance as paint, and that he would be safe "in guaranteeing it to endure through a satisfactory number of years."

To this, Mr. Hood added his own experience, saying, "This paint has been in service on my farm through all the seasons of the year and shows no signs of deterioration, and owing to its low cost and the crying need of such an attractive preservation for this class of buildings, it is my intention to arrange my affairs to commercialize the idea, having now several orders for spring delivery."

The article concluded by stating he had applied for a patent, and the paint would be sold under the trade name "Sal-Lac" (also found in print as "Sal Lac.")

At about this same time, he sold his 132-acre farm "facing the Campbellsville pike," with the buyer to take possession in the near future. The paper allowed as to how Mr. Hood likely would move south to where he owned a farm, referencing the 240 acres he'd purchased a few years earlier near West Point, Mississippi. He actually did go south, but only long enough to lease out the farm for a year and to visit with his friend C.S. Harris and family, whose land adjoined his.)

No additional mention of Mr. Hood or Sal-Lac surfaced in The News until the middle of April that year when a half page ad stated that "The necessary machinery has been purchased and installed temporarily at Cane Valley, Ky., for the manufacture of Sal-Lac, and the services of Mr. G.C. Judd, a painter of experience, have been employed to superintend production, and we are now ready to place upon the market this wonderful new product."

The ad also noted it had been created as "a preservative for the ordinary rough surfaced building on the farm" and stated that Sal-Lac was "Good enough for any building, cheap enough for every building." (It was, perhaps, a partial solution for the old problem, "Too poor to paint, too proud to whitewash.") Several lines of relatively small print informed the reader of glowing comments about Sal-Lac made by various chemists.

On a more practical level, the ad reported that "The exclusive sale will be given to one dealer in every county, at or near one dollar per gallon in five gallon cans. . .If interested in factory price, get busy as it is necessary to move our plant to a railroad town." Inquiries were earnestly solicited, directed to Foree Hood, Owner and Patentee, or G.C. Judd, Distributor."

The following week, April 20, saw publication of another half-page ad, this one including testimonials from local residents W.E. Keltner, T.B. Grant, J.P. Todd & Son, and J.M. Hancock.

By this time, Mr. Hood had in very recent days moved to Campbellsville, the "railroad town" mentioned above. This change of address drew notice in the same edition of The News. And too, in "Images of America: Campbellsville [Ky.]" (Joseph Y. DeSpain, John R. Burch, Jr., and Timothy Q. Hooper, 2010, Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, SC), the cutline for a photograph of brothers Buster, Foree, and Allie Hood states in part, "Foree Hood moved to Campbellsville in 1926 and leased a warehouse in which to manufacture his paint, 'Sal Lac,' a product later patented in cooperation with a company orm (sic) Norfolk, Virginia."

The paper then fell silent for six months about Mr. Hood's venture before running a long news item (in the main, a reprint of an article from The News Journal of Campbellsville) on the front page of the October 19 edition. This news piece stated a patent had been granted in recent days, said patent being subject to "the Duffy interests of Norfolk, Va., who held patents pertinent to Mr. Hood's invention." The article went on to say he had met with representatives of that firm, the parties coming together to form Hood & Duffy, that entity to have "complete monopoly of the right to use the material from which the paint is made."

And too, stated the piece, this new product was creating quite the sensation in the east, with Sal-Lac being "used extensively at the country estates of the Vanderbilts, DuPonts, and Belmonts, among others, with plans being laid to form a corporation in the near future to produce and place large quantities of Sal-Lac on the market.

To this, The News appended a few lines which concluded by stating, "Here's hoping Adair has produced another captain of industry."

And on those notes of optimism and high hopes, Sal-Lac simply vanished; it never again drew mention in The News or any of the several other county, state, and national papers searched. By 1942, Mr. Hood worked at the Blatz Paint Company, Louisville.

This story was posted on 2021-04-18 08:49:50
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Foree Hood and the brief saga of Sal-Lac

2021-04-18 - Columbia, KY - Photo courtesy JIM.
The ad for Foree Hood's Sal-Lac, with testimonials from local citizens, from the April 20, 1926 Adair County News.

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