Ores to Metals: The Rocky Mountain Smelting Industry

Material Information

Ores to Metals: The Rocky Mountain Smelting Industry
Series Title:
Ores to Metals: The Rocky Mountain Smelting Industry
Lipinski, Paul W.
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Center for Colorado and the West
Publication Date:

Record Information

Source Institution:
Auraria Library
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


This item is only available as the following downloads:

Full Text


Ores to Metals: The Rocky Mountain Smelting Industry | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 1:06:30 PM] Home Ores to Metals: The Rocky Mountain Smelting IndustryOres to Metals: The Rocky Mountain Smelting IndustrySubmitted by jainlayconley on 11-19-2009 11:49 AMAuthor: James E. Fell, Jr. Publishing: Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1980. Reprint with foreword by Stephen J. Leonard and preface by the author. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado, 2009. xix + 341 pages. Photos, maps, drawings, endnotes, bibliography, index. 8-1/2 x 5-1/2. $27.95 paperback. Reviewer: Paul W. Lipinski James Fells Ores to Metals portrays a very interesting and complex aspect of Colorados history through the eyes of an industry that has long since vanished from the state. Though railroads and mining played key roles in the development of Colorado, few current residents or tourists have ever given their sister industry, smelting, much thought. In Ores to Metals Fell demonstrates that without smelting, the mining industry in Colorado would not have existed. Likewise, without smelting and mining, the railroads would not have been developed across the state as extensively as they were. Furthermore, without the need for coal to power the smelters, and thusly the need to move the coal from the coal mines along the Front Range, Denver would probably not have become the transportation center it is today. Though this book is a very interesting summation and review of the fascinating smelting industry in its own right, it is perhaps an even more notable portrayal of an evolving business and all of the intricacies that controlled it. The smelting industry in Colorado existed primarily in the second half of the nineteenth century, but the business, economic, and political decisions that went into shaping it can also be applied not only to the present day exploitive industries such as mining and oil and gas, but to all industries that are at the mercy of supply chains, political manipulating, transportation links, natural resources, and environmental concerns. Try to think of an industry that isnt. Ores to Metals thus becomes not only an interesting history lesson, but also an informative business text that is worth reading for this knowledge alone. Next time you are driving up Clear Creek Canyon to go gambling in Black Hawk or Central City, try to imagine what casino row looked like when it was occupied by the biggest smelting and refining operation in the entire state. The black slag heaps on the south side of Leadville are all that remain of the many smelting and refining operations that were active during the 1800s and serviced one of the greatest mining districts in the state. Without smelting, Leadville would never have been developed and folks such as the Tabors would have had to make their fame elsewhere. Baby Doe Tabor would never have had to hold on to the Matchless and walk into Colorado history by dying alone in a miners cabin. The smelters provided the market to which the mines and miners could sell their product. The smelting industry produced, aside from refined ore, extensive new technologies. As ore compositions changed and competition increased, efficiencies needed to improve, and improve they did. Improvements came through technological advances, not only in refining and smelting chemistry, but in business practice EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanNow, thats wrong! Some of these Japanese are citizens of the United States. Colorado Gov. Ralph Carrs response to Executive Order 9066 forcing Japanese into internment camps during WWII.


Ores to Metals: The Rocky Mountain Smelting Industry | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 1:06:30 PM] as well. Integration of the key components of smelting such as mining and transportation became almost mandatory. There were smelters almost everywhere there were mines. The two industries worked hand in hand during their entire existence in Colorado. A cheap and abundant source of fuel was necessary to power the smelters and burning Colorados forests to provide coke for the smelters only went so far, especially when the forests were needed more for timbering the mines rather than as fuel. Coal was the preferred fuel though sources were usually distant primarily along the Front Rangeso trains forced their way into the mountains. Trains transported this better fuel to the smelters along with equipment, supplies, and people. They also transported ore from mine portals to smelters and finished product to market. The need for ores, fuel, and markets linked the mining and smelting industries, and successful operations became integrated companies that ran both smelters and mines. ASARCO is probably the best example. The further need for long distance transportation forced strong connections with the railroads that in turn controlled where the smelters themselves would be constructed. Fell makes it particularly clear that between the three key shapers of Colorados history neither the mining industry, nor the railroading industry, nor the smelting industry stood alone. This intricate industrial and economic web that shaped Colorados history is portrayed particularly well in Ores to Metals The business models that applied in the 1800s also apply today and there are fascinating examples throughout the book that should delight any business student. Who would have thought that a political decision by the Herschell Committee of the British House of Commons in 1893 to stop the minting of silver rupees in India would eventually close silver mines in the state of Colorado? The economic lessons of supply and demand that ruled the mining and the smelting businesses over one hundred years ago are still poorly practiced in the business and political world today. The modern analog might be the oil boycotts of the 1970s, the oversupply of the 1990s, and the high oil prices of 2008. In addition to appealing to those interested in Colorado or mining history, this book is a fascinating read for any up and coming industrialist, or business major. Whether you are a Colorado native or here to vacation, study, or work, remember that not all old roads lead to mines. Many actually go to the previously occupied smelting sites that provided the economic outlets for the mines. In fact, some roads werent initially roads at all, but old railroad lines. Remember these points for your next trip up Clear Creek Canyon on your way to the former smelting town of Black Hawk. Remember also that the Durango-Silverton railroad wasnt always just a tourist ride, but a way to bring ore from the mines in Silverton to the smelter in Durango. Reviewer Info: Paul W. Lipinski is an exploration petroleum geologist for Ute Energy in Denver, Colorado. He has worked extensively in the petroleum basins of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming for over thirty years since graduating from the University of Arizona with a masters degree in geosciences. Though his professional attention centers primarily on the oil and gas industry of the Rocky Mountains, his interests also include the Colorado base and precious metals mining districts of Alma, Leadville, and Silverton, and the Greens Creek Mine in Alaska. Add new commentComments This is the definitive book