Thursday, May 30, 2013


People have been working copper for 8,000 years.  Smelting came along after another 3000 to 4000 years.  Imagine our ancestors standing around a smelting site as if it were a campfire and breathing in all those fumes.  During the first few thousand years, smelting production was usually in the hundreds of pounds or less a year at individual sites from present day Turkey to the Caspian Sea.  Take a look at this link at how our ancestors would have smelted copper:

Fast forward to 19th Century Britain...

Cornwall was a major copper producer into the mid-nineteenth century when their mines started running out.  What's important at this time for the UP copper producers is Cornish smelters were state of the art.   When the smelters shed jobs, the Cornish smelter workers as well as their mining brethen came to the US and put their skills to use, developing the US copper smelting industry.  By coincidence, copper mining started in the UP just as the British copper industry petered out.  Their misfortune, our good fortune!

And economic development, 1898 style, led to...

When the Quincy Mining Co. decided to build a smelter in 1898, it was able to take advantage of all the technological advances of the past century, thanks in part to the advances in smelter technology brought over from Cornwall.

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