Robertson Corporation records

Identity elements

Reference code

Level of description



Robertson Corporation records


  • 1874-2009 (Creation)


23.00 Linear Feet

Name of creator


Administrative history

1881 Company Established in Brownstown, IN; R. M. Robertson born-son of founder; Burr/Stone Ground Wheat Flour and Corn Meal
1890 Steel Roller Mills; Refined White Flour
1900 Wheat Bran first sold as feed; White Frost flour; White Fawn flour
1919 Death of Charles Andrew Robertson, surviving founder
1920 First "formula feed" mixed-"Emco Pig Meal"
1925 Pioneer High Patent Flour, Degerminated Pearl Meal
1931 "Self-Rising Flour"
1932 "Hoosier" (Depression Clear) Family Flour
1933 Dick Robertson sold Riggles Stores, Mitchell, IN, 2,000 barrels (196-200 lbs) of White Frost Family Flour doe $2.50 a barrel. That was the largest flour sale Robertson ever made. Wheat was about $.30 a bushel at the time
1936 Pioneer Breakfast Cereal
1938 Purchased Lemon Mill in Bedford, IN; Development of first special "glue-extender" flour-forerunner of Glu-X, now used by plywood furniture industries. First sold to Hoosier Panel Company.
1939 Started buying soybeans
1940 Purchased Ginger Feed and Elevator Company, Jeffersonville, IN; First "Enriched Flour" in Indiana-"Kitchen King"
1941 "Robin Hood" and Bakery Fours distributed at Jeffersonville, IN; "Special" Cookie and Cracker Flours
1942 Fire destroyed most of Ewing Mill
1943 Rebuilt Corn Meal Mill at Ewing
1945 Acquired farmer's Hominy Mill in Seymour, IN
1946 Pioneer Hi-Ratio Cake Flour
1947 Exporting Government specification relief flour again
1948 Balanced Dog Food Produced-"Triple-R"
1949 Discontinued corn meal production; Emco Feed sold in "Dress Bags"-same material to make dresses
1950 Cob Mill at Ewing
1951 Development of industrial cob processing
1952 Early trials with rye and sorghum milling-unsatisfactory
1957 Glu-X Registered at United States Patent Office
1960 Early computerized feed formula
1963 Glu-X shipped to first Southern Pine Plywood-GP at Fordyce, AR
1965 Rebuilt Ewing Mill (including Cob Mill) as GLU-X Mill
1966 Robertson's "Triple-R" Livestock and Dog Feeds Regulation United States Patent Office
1970 Development of Sepro-X (soy energy protein extrusion process)
1971 Research project with Kansas State University regarding new cereal starches
1972 Death of R. M. Robertson
1973 100th Anniversary of Roller Mills in the United States
1979 Robertson publishes "State of the Art" paper regarding extenders and fillers
1980 Robertson donates antique mill machinery to the Smithsonian Institute; Utilization of computerized near infra red reflectance methods for extender research, analytical evaluation and quality control
1981 C. R. Robertson died: Jerry O. Robertson named Director of The Robertson Corporation; Centennial: Struck coin; Published commemorative Planner
1983 Invented and filed patent for Pan-X Composition Board Extender
1984 Initiated Computerized mail marketing of exotic Bird and Fish Feeds
1985 Marketed both Glu-X Extender and Lignocelluslosic Filler to Panel Industry and published paper for Forest Products Research Society regarding the roles of these products in coming years
1986 Seymour remodeled for bulk-to-bag packing; Made large shipments of Glu-X to Brazil; Made Patent Office Appointment for Glu-X West Trademark; First continuing bulk Glu-X tanker shipments; Acquired Associate Mill in Plainville, IN; Remodeled Brownstown wheat elevator; Fire completely destroyed Bedford Mill; Bedford Marketing Office established at 1714 L Street.
1987 Established RII Production Facilities in Washington State; Marketing Glu-X West in Northwest by RII
1988 Spray-X Registered United States Patent Office; continued international promotion
1991 Jill Robertson, 5th generation from founder appointed as first woman to serve on corporation board
1992 Established total quality and statistical process control systems
1993 Moved Bedford office to new marketing office at 1032 W. Spring Street in Brownstown, IN
1994 Transferred Seymour Mill property through charitable sale to city of Seymour and contribution to Jackson County Community Foundation
1995 Continued research on soy derivatives, tannins & other adhesive additives; Significant Spray-X and Glu-X production started in RMI Building
1996 Significant Extender-Additive research initiated with objective of producing Soy-Modified Glu-X for improving benefits in wood panel adhesive technology; Trademarks filed in United States Patent Office for Soy-Ply and Soy-Fill
1997 R.S. Robertson, Chairman died. R. R. (oldest son, Phil) elected President and second son, John "Butch" appointed to the Board of Directors; Joe E. Robertson (3rd generation from founder) appointed Chairman Dr. Joe Robertson Jr. and Jerry O. Robertson reappointed as outside directors; Sherrell Perry-Assistant Secretary/Treasurer is first female and non-family officer of the corporation
1998 Phil Robertson retired; John Robertson elected President; Doug Nuss employed as Vice President-second non-family officer of the corporation
1998 1999-Practical evaluations and trials of Ag-Fiber Panel Boards containing Wheatboard Filler and/or Soy-Fill Flakes as enhancing additives or furnishes
2000 The New Millineum-Glu-X and Spray-X established as standards of excellence in Extender; Soy-Fill and Wheatboard created and developed by Robertson R&D (Research and Development) for future use in the composition fiber panel industry

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The Correspondence Series is comprised of two boxes that extend over an 81-year period, starting in 1913 and ending in 2004 and arranged in alphabetical order. Majority of correspondence relate to the purchase of milling equipment such as elevators, dryers, flour packers, and sifters; the purchase of the Lemon Mill in Bedford, Indiana and the Ginger Feed and Elevator Company, Jeffersonville, Indiana; the sale of the company’s products such as corn meal, dog food, flour, livestock feed, and Glu-X; and the sale of the Seymour Mill. Correspondence between Phil Robertson and G. Terry Sharer, discusses historical milling machinery the Robertson Corporation donated to the Smithsonian in 1979. In 1980, Phil Robertson attended a reception hosted by the Smithsonian on the acceptance of the historical machinery. Equipment donated to the Smithsonian Institute.
The Financial Records are house in six boxes. Five boxes, 1928-2004, are filed in alphabetical order. They include annual meetings with statements of profit and loss, account ledgers, accountant's compilation report, auditors compilation report, balance sheets, cash flow statements, capital investments, estate transfers, financial statements, income tax basis, income tax returns, purchase orders from companies such as Advance Fabricators, Bearings Incorporation, Creason Corrugating, and Insects Limited, and sales and production figures. One box consists of the 1959 Ewing Mill appraisal, a Peoples bankbook, cash books, check stubs, financial ledgers, a payroll ledger from 1916 to 1917, production ledgers, sales slips, and a 1916 shipment register.
Minutes are stored in four boxes. (1960-1997, 2007-2009) are stored in two boxes and give insight on the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals of the Robertson Corporation. Each set of minutes contain travel plans, the price of crops on the market and a general overview of the company. There are two boxes of formal minutes in minute books (1960-2009).
The Subject Series (1874, 1881-2004) is the largest of all of the series. It is housed in nine boxes and contains insurance policies, newspaper clippings and class notes from when Joe E. Robertson attended Kansas State University in the 1940s. Listed alphabetically, the series covers the purchase and sale of mill property and equipment, contracts, events, feed and grain, flour standards, general milling information, history of the companies and employees, inventories, newspaper clippings, patent information, research, and one of the later important pieces of the corporation’s history: how the company eventually turned to Glu-X as a main product. Aerial view of the Ewing Mill in Brownstown, IN.
The Photographs Series (1900-2000) consists of four boxes of photographs and one box of glass negatives. It includes aerial views of the corporation, views of the mills, the after effects of a large snowfall, exhibits, and fires. Some of the photographs date back to 1900. This series is a picture book of change and innovation with photos ranging from horse and buggy to early automobiles, then on to large loading trucks. An interesting set of photos shows construction of the Ewing Blending Plant. With the photos in order, one can see each step of the construction from beginning to end. Not all photographs are business-related as there are family photos of each family member inside and outside the office. Notable family photos include a photo of Phil Robertson at the Smithsonian and photos of the Robertson's as boys and men.
Oversize Materials are stored in three boxes and includes newspaper clippings, Robertson Corporation abstract, loan application, mortgage, feed lists, equipment blue prints and printed material. Ewing, Indiana. Printed Material is the second largest series in the collection and is comprised of eight boxes. The largest section in this series is Articles that includes items from Milling and Baking, The Northwestern Miller, and Random Lengths. Brochures and pamphlets dot the landscape of printed material and include research findings from respected institutions or from attended research symposiums. Many of the magazine articles deal with World War II or the Russian grain embargo. There is also a collection of books pertaining to the history of milling and includes a copy of <emph render='italic'>The Robertson Corporation 1880-2000 </emph>written by R. R. Phil Robertson. Family member Richard S. "Dick" Robertson wrote <emph render='italic'>Recollections of My Life in Brownstown, Indiana</emph>, included in the collection. These recollections are snap shots of Dick's life in Brownstown. The Artifacts Series is stored in one box and includes flour slicks, commemorative coins, packaging bags for Glu-X and Triple-R dog food, and promotional items.
The Artifacts are stored within the department's Artifact Collection. Box 40 in this inventory lists the artifacts.

System of arrangement

The Robertson Corporation Records (1874, 1880-2009) are housed in 40 boxes and organized in to eight Series: 1) Correspondence; 2) Financial Records; 3) Minutes; 4) Subject; 5) Photographs; 6) Oversized Materials; 7) Printed Material; 8) Artifacts.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

No access restriction: All materials are open for research.

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

The researcher asssumes full rseponsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Languages of the material

  • English

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Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

It received accession number P2007.08.

Immediate source of acquisition

Acqusition Source: Phil and Joe Robertson
Acqusition Method: Donation
Acqusition Date: 20070101

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information

The Records document the 120-year milling history of the Robertson Corporation.


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Notes element

General note

Preferred Citation: [Item title], [item date], Robertson Corporation records,  Box [number], Folder [number or title], Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.

Specialized notes

Alternative identifier(s)

Archon Collection ID


Description control element

Rules or conventions

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Sources used

Archivist's note

Finding Aid Author: Paul Harris
Processing Info: The collection was processed by Paul Harris, Student Processor, in 2010.
Archon migration by Edward Nagurny, graduate research assistant, September 2015.
Publication Date: 2015-09-01

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Physical storage

  • Box: Boxes