Breaking Eggs in Lampasas

The Texas Story Project. Inspired by Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).

A few years ago, Sid Wieser took me out to the place on his property where trees and rough brush had grown up through a layer of eggshells. Dumped there years ago, the eggshell pieces were still easy to see as tiny gray fragments covering the ground. Why so many eggshells? Sid’s property had been used to dispose of eggshells from the Producers Produce Company’s World War II powdered egg operation.

During World War II, the Producers Produce Company produced powdered eggs for the U.S. government. These powdered eggs were used to feed soldiers, sailors and the people of war-torn countries around the world. This egg drying plant went into operation on February 10, 1942.

Women were employed to break the eggs and then take a whiff to make sure the egg was fresh. Bad eggs were thrown out. Fifty-eight women were employed to break an average of 453,600 eggs per day. Each woman broke an egg every four seconds, for eight hours a day, day after day. Like many American women who worked during World War II, this job was their patriotic contribution to the war effort. 

When the war ended, few people wanted to work on the egg-breaking line, and production numbers dropped down to half that of the war time years. The egg drying plant in the Lampasas Producers Produce Company operated until 1950. By that time, commercial egg-breaking machines were replacing the manual laborers of the egg-break line. What remains of the Producer Produce building is on the block on the northwest corner of the courthouse square. It is now the Windsor Foods processing plant. 

Jeff Jackson is an historian and author from Lampasas County.

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