Winfred Lewis Cobb was born February 22, 1875, in Lake Crystal, Blue Earth County, Minnesota. He spent his early life in Minnesota, where he met and married Edna May Basset in 1899. They had four children, Clair, Glen, Rex and Lila. “The family moved to Oregon in 1904, living in Scio, Albany and then Jefferson. ”
The Cobb name is well known around Jefferson for the contribution to the community of their company Cobb Manufacturing, established in 1921, by W.L. Cobb. Working with his sons Clair, Glen, and later Rex and son-in-law Oswald Pendergraft, they designed and built most of the machines used in their shop. The original shop was located where the current La Espiga is now, and then moved to its main street location, which is currently Jefferson Rentals property. They held patents for a coupling and hook system for pipe connections. They built mint distillery equipment for peppermint growers from Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oregon and Washington. “Included in their distillery equipment work are metal tanks for trucks. They make from 10 to 28 of these a year. In fact Clair Cobb said, “We get so many orders for the tanks we can’t take care of them all and farm out some of the orders.”
They also built newspaper boxes and tubes, with 23 newspapers in 1955, one of those with a standing order of 1000 boxes a month. Their first customer was the Seattle Times in 1927.
Son Clair Cobb had a particular gift when it came to building the equipment in the shop. He “designed and built most of the equipment used to make the newspaper tubes. The rivet machine was made from the block of an old Star automobile engine. It remains in perfect order, as does the roll machine and punch press used to bend the mounting brackets for the plastic tubes.”
In 1989 Bob Pendergraft sold the business to Bill Grice, who moved the operation to Coos Bay.
Lawrence, B. M. (Ed.). (2006). Mint: The Genus Mentha. Boca Raton, Fl: Taylor & Frances Group LLC.
Shields, G. (1955, April 17). Cobb Brothers Plant Helps Keep Jefferson "On the Map". Statesman Journal.
Company Has Made Thousands of Paper Tubes. (1987, January 10). The World.
Beckham, Cathy (1989, August 21). Newspaper Tube Business Sold. The Albany Democrat Herald.
Obituary. (1944, September 09). The Capital Journal.