Central Machete

Date Established: 1903
Date Ceased Operations: 1968
Annual Production Graph
Average Annual Production: 13,172 Tons
Best Production Year: 1930/24,466 Tons
Family Ownership: McCormick
Corporate Ownership: Central Aguirre Sugar Company
The predecessor to Central Machete was Hacienda Verdaguer, started ca. 1800 by Felix Massó Soler and his wife Obdulia Verdaguer.  After Massó returned to live in Barcelona, Hacienda Verdaguer was acquired by Michel and Pierre Ledee, two brothers who came to Puerto Rico from the Caribbean island of St. Barth.  It became a sugar mill in 1903 under the ptincipal ownership of A. Hartman & Co. who in December 1908 installed new equipment from Fulton Iron Works in St Louis, MO.
In January 1920 Luce & Co S en C, a subsidiary of Central Aguirre Sugar Co.,  acquired a 72.5% controlling interest in Central Machete Co. and 6,000 acres of land from A. Hartman & Co., for a reported $2,500,000.  The remaining 27.5% ownership was retained by the Luis Francisco Vergés (1869-1910) and Antonio S. Alcaide Baiz (1863- ).  Machete did not grow cane of its own, all of it sugarcane was provided by Luce & Co.

A Hartman & Co. was controlled by Puerto Rican born brothers Juan Carlos (1860-1916) and Guillermo McCormick Hartman (1861-1907).  The McCormick brothers, which also included Arthur (1864-1924), were sons of Scottish immigrant and Vice Consul of the US and the UK in 1876 and 1879 respectively Arthur William McCormick Fitzpatrick ( -1881) and his wife of German descent Adela Hartman Langschwart (1840-1892).  Juan Carlos McCormick Hartman was married to Axelina Francisca Murdoch Cora (1866- ), niece of Edward Lind the owner of Hacienda Enriqueta .  Another brother, Enrique McCormick Hartman was married to Maria de los Dolores Alcaide Baiz sister of Antonio S. Alcaide Baiz co-owner of Central Providencia.

We only have production figures through 1931.  It is reasonable to assume that Machete's production was from that year on included in Aguirre's production numbers which almost doubled from 1931 to 1932.  Being part of Aguirrre, its production was sent there by train, the tracks in the picture are about a 100 yards in front of the smoke stack which has a very particular heptagonal (7 sides) design.  

Central Machete's last grinding season was 1967-68, in 1970 the lands owned by Luce & Co. were acquired by the Puerto Rico Land Authority, an agency of the Government of Puerto Rico who continued to grow sugarcane thereafter processed at Central Aguirre until ca. 1986.

The house pictured below is a typical sugar mill house of those days, if not for the fence which is a later addition, it would probably be the best kept original house we saw.
  1. Managing Director