One man's junk...
Crusher becomes treasure for others

Wanda English Burnett, Editor

History has been preserved with the restoration of a Diamond Iron Works crusher taking its place at the entrance of Hanson Aggregates quarry just south of Versailles on US 421.

The old crusher dates back to the early 1930’s and was used by Karl Cord, grandfather of Mike Cord, who found the crusher literally in pieces on his property in the late fall of 2005. “There was a main part, plus two flywheels, the jaw and axle,” he noted. He contacted Neil Allen, plant manager at Hanson Aggregates to see if they would be interested in displaying the old crusher that is much like the one they use today.

Employees of Hanson Aggregates, Bob Brison and Wayne Gunter, did the work of getting the crusher restored and then, using big equipment, were able to place it at the entrance of the facility. It had originally been sitting on old timbers, which were deteriorated from the weather. Brison constructed a platform that would hold the massive piece of equipment and it was set on a concrete form.

The Cords, known for their involvement with the quarry business, had three generations working in the stone industry, according to Mike. He said that particular crusher had been used from the early ‘30’s until about 1944, when it was retired. At that time, his family had a contract to provide stone to the Jefferson Proving Ground. They had to get permission to buy another crusher to fulfill the contract. That was during World War II when you couldn’t just go out and buy things like a crusher due to materials being rationed.

Mike noted that the flywheels on the crusher were belt driven and turned by a steam engine and later a tractor. He laughed, “The family joke is that grandpa (Karl Cord) sold the steam engine to buy grandma an engagement ring, and then the tractor had to be used.”

Much like the operation of today, dynamite was used to blast the stone out of the ground, then the crusher was used to crush the big chunks into smaller ones. “My grandfather said sometimes a sledge hammer would be used to break the pieces so they would fit in the crusher,” noted Mike.

The old crusher that once did the job of crushing thousands of tons of stone that today are the foundations for much of the county, sits proudly on a pedestal welcoming those who enter the Hanson property.