Georgia’s economy hosts a spectrum of businesses large and small. The state is known for products as diverse as granite and textiles, rocking chairs and feature films. These industries serve Georgians, Americans, and citizens from around the world with goods and services, bringing prominence and economic growth to the state.
Georgia inventor and engineer Malcolm Johnson works at Kimberly-Clark and holds nine patents for inventions. He knows inventors have a lot of confidence and curiosity. Wanting to know what, where, and why things happen keeps them focused and committed as they create new things. Chris Mitchell teaches Georgia students about African-American inventors using original patents, documents, and photographs.
Marcellus Barksdale, a Morehouse College historian, describes what happened to the South as a result of the Civil War. In Marietta, returning Confederate soldier James Remley Brumby dreamed of a better future and started making rocking chairs. The chair company grew to become Marietta’s largest employer.
According to Tom Robinson, executive vice president of the Elberton Granite Association, the abundance of granite in Elberton may also have something to do with Elberton’s nickname, "Granite Capital of the World." Geologists estimate that the granite deposit is 35 miles long, 6 miles wide, and 2 to 3 miles in depth. Bill Kelly, a historian for the granite history, recounts that area farmers thought of the granite rocks in their fields as big nuisances. Chip Rousey of Monumental Designs demonstrates how computers create stencils for carving designs and names into memorial stones.
Bobs Candies, an Albany company founded by Bob McCormack in 1919, is the largest manufacturer of striped candy in the world. McCormack was the first manufacturer to wrap his candy in cellophane. In the 1950s, McCormack's brother-in-law, Father Gregory Keller, invented a machine to twist the candy and bend it into a cane. The Keller machine revolutionized the business and created a new industry–the commercial manufacture of candy canes. McCormack's grandchildren comment about working at the factory.
Atlanta has come a long way since it was a quiet little town called Terminus. Today, it has become the entertainment capital of the South. From music to museums, there are literally thousands of things for locals and visitors to do.
Dario Rossi is a prominent sculptor who left his home in Carrara, Italy, to work in Elberton. Rossi designs and carves primarily on grave markers, embellishing them with images of Jesus, the Star of David, or angels. Rossi has been devoted to his art and worries that classical sculpture is dying out.
Coca-Cola archivist Phil Mooney and Rick Allen, author of Secret Formula, a history of Coke, comment on Coca-Cola's early history and its rise to become a seminal part of American culture.
Dr. Crawford W. Long used ether to conduct the first painless operation on March 30, 1842. Susan Deaver, director of the Crawford W. Long Museum, Bill Custer, of Georgia State University, and Dan Rahn, an M.D. at Georgia Medical College, describe anesthesia and the scientific and technological advances in medicine.
John Johnson, Director of Interpretation and Education at the Agrirama in Tifton, explains the economic impact of going from one person able to seed one pound of cotton a day to Eli Whitney's cotton gin seeding 50 pounds of cotton a day. Dr. Jerry DeVine of Albany State College notes that the increase in cotton production saw a parallel increase in slavery. Slaves and land were the two greatest forms of wealth in Georgia, with more money invested in slaves than land.
John Gilbert takes students on a tour of the Big Shanty Museum (now renamed The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History) and reveals that the Civil War was known as the railroad war because battles were fought up and down the rail lines. Dr. Gene Hatfield, a historian, recounts how repairing destroyed railroad tracks was mostly done by African American men. Folklorist Maggie Holtzberg explains the rhythmic singing and movements they used to move heavy track. Lesa Campbell of the Southern Railway Museum discusses how travel and transport has changed over time.
John Johnson at the Georgia Agrirama recounts how important agriculture is to Georgia. At one time most Georgians lived on farms. In the early 1900s when compulsory school attendance was first required by law, families still needed children to help with the necessary farm work in the spring. School calendars were set to accommodate that need. Students and farmworkers demonstrate the challenges of farm life during turn of the century Georgia.
Professor John Lupold of Columbus College describes the forces leading to the urbanization of Georgia, while retired textile mill workers Lee Manly, Jeannette Scales, and Charlie Stafford explain what it was like to work in Georgia's mills. In the early 1900s, there were no Georgia laws prohibiting child labor, a situation that coincided with the rise of the textile industry.
Kirk Johnston, a Charles Town Landing State Park reenactor, discusses a replica 17th century sailing vessel and describes how saltwater, wind, and sun took a toll on wooden ships. In the late 1800s, the naval stores industry, byproducts of pine trees, grew to become a major Georgia export. John Johnson of the Agrirama and James Gainer, a naval stores worker for more than 30 years, explain how pine resin is collected, some of the products early Scottish colonists made with it and how colonists came from around the South to work in Georgia's budding pine industry.
In colonial days, rice was Georgia’s number one export. Richard Schultz Jr., talks about helping grow rice, Jackie Edwards, a reenactor at Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation demonstrates how slaves would separate rice from its hulls, Faye Cowart, tour guide at the plantation, lists other potential disasters in growing rice, and Robbie Harrison, whose family has grown rice at Fife Plantation, discusses the dangers of the coastal climate.
Historians discuss the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill Strike of 1914, in which 500 of 1300 workers challenged the management of the company for their grueling practices.
Metter farmer Bill Lanier tells about his experiences of life on the farm before great technological changes came to Georgia. Dr. Craig Kvien, an agricultural scientist at the University of Georgia, explains how GPS has impacted the farming economy. Fourth and fifth generation Early County farmers W. P. Smith and his son Tony discuss the efficiencies brought to farming with new technologies. Finally, Mike Newberry, another Early County farmer, contends that the average person would be surprised at the amount of technology used in farming today and the unlimited potential for improvements in the future.
Fowler Farms, a supplier of exotic animals to zoos and parks, is now supplying ostrich, emu, and rhea meat to restaurants and grocery stores. Fowler notes that 98 percent of the bird is useable including its meat, feathers, and hide. Suzanne Shingler, Fowler’s partner, is in charge of incubating and hatching eggs. This is a new industry in Georgia, but Shingler thinks it will grow especially since the meat is low in fat and cholesterol and people are more concerned with their diets these days.
Georgia has been a hotbed of musical talent and it brings in $600 million per year. Tommie Storms, director of music entertainment at the Art Institute of Atlanta, talks about the what makes the state so attractive to the music industry.
On any given day at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, more than 2,200 flights take off and land, traveling to 150 destinations in the United States, and 30 cities in 17 countries around the world. University of Georgia economist Charles Floyd notes that most people are passing through Atlanta are on their way to somewhere else. Angela Gittens, aviation general manager at Hartsfield-Jackson, observes that the transportation of people and goods is the essence of commerce.