“N” is for Naval Stores
“N” is for Naval Stores. For centuries, the resinous products of pine trees—tar, pitch, rosin, and turpentine—were used to preserve and maintain wooden sailing vessels and cordage. As the world’s leading maritime power, Great Britain had a vital interest in naval stores and recognized the potential of their American colonies—especially the Carolinas. In 1705 Parliament authorized a large bounty for colonial naval stores. Production soared and South Carolina produced more than any other colony. The bounty was eliminated in 1725, but production continued. In the 1880s the state was producing nearly one-third of the South’s naval stores. Competition from petroleum products reduced the market demand and two centuries of exploitation had denuded the state’s great pine forests. By the early twentieth century, South Carolina’s naval stores industry had run its course.