For over half a century, F. W. Brode ranked among the leading cottonseed products brokers in the United States. His skill in developing markets for cottonseed meal helped ensure the success of the infant cottonseed processing industry after the Civil War.
Born in Saxony in 1843, Brode emigrated with his family to New Orleans when he was nine or ten years old. After several moves, the family settled in Memphis in the late 1850s. A decade or so later, Brode established a brokerage business that specialized in sugar, molasses, and rice. With the growing importance of cottonseed processing, Brode decided to deal in cottonseed products as well. He promoted cottonseed meal as an ideal food for livestock, spending thousands of dollars on feeding demonstrations and writing promotional pamphlets. On personal trips to Europe Brode developed an extensive export trade in cottonseed meal; he also introduced it to New England cattle raisers.
A charter member of the Memphis Merchants Exchange, Brode played a leading role in developing trading rules to govern the buying and selling of cottonseed products. Since Memphis was the largest cottonseed processing center in the United States during the late nineteenth century, its trading rules were widely used. In 1897 Brode was one of the three men most responsible for organizing the Interstate Cottonseed Crushers' Association. The following year, he served as president of the Memphis Merchants Exchange. A pioneer cottonseed products broker, F. W. Brode died in 1931, at the age of eighty-eight.
Lynette Boney Wrenn, Cinderella of the New South: A History of the Cottonseed Industry, 1855-1955 (1995)