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Early Smelting In Utah

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This page was last updated on February 5, 2018.

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(This is a work in progress; research continues.)

Early Smelters

(A list of smelters and mills in Utah Territory in 1873)

In 1873 there were within 12 miles of Salt Lake City 11 furnaces for reduction of ores, and in the state of Utah there were over 30 such furnaces, all of which had developed since the arrival of Union Pacific in 1869. (History of the Union Pacific, Nelson Trottman, 1923, page 99)

The following comes from Orson Whitney's "History of Utah," published in 1883, page 274:

In the summer of 1870 smelters began to be built in Salt Lake Valley, the first one completed being that of the Woodhull Brothers, on Big Cottonwood Creek, eight miles south of this city. From these works were shipped the first bullion produced from the Utah mines. It was smelted from the ores of Little Cottonwood, notably those of the Monitor and Magnet mines. The Badger State Smelting Works, also south of the city, were begun in August, 1870, and produced their first bullion in March of the year following. Then came the Jennings and Pascoe smelter, just north of the Warm Springs, Colonel D. E. Buel's furnace at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon, the smelting works of Buel and Bateman in Bingham Canyon, and many others in various places. Among the best of these were those of Colonel Buel, in Little Cottonwood. In East Canyon, in the Ophir District, was erected in May and June, 1871, the pioneer crushing and amalgamating mill. It had fifteen stamps, and was built by the Walker Brothers for working the silver ores of that vicinity. From the summer of 1869 to the fall of 1871, ten thousand tons of silver and gold ores, valued at $2,500,000; four thousand, five hundred tons of gold and silver bullion, worth $1,237,000; and two hundred and thirty-one tons of copper ore, valued at $6,000, were shipped from the Territory. Silver bars, obtained by milling the silver ores, produced $120,000. During the same period the annual product of gold from Bingham Canyon was increased by means of superior sluicing methods from $150,000 to $250,000.

October 16, 1873
"At the Flagstaff and Last Chance smelters are an accumulation of 350 tons of base bullion; at the Chicago smelter, 80 tons; at the American Smelting Company's works, 50; at Carson & Buzzo's running smelters, 60; at the Sheridan Hill Smelting Co's works, 40; at the Mountain Chief, 50; at the Saturn, 30; at the Wasatch, 50; and at the Davenport, about 40. On an average value of $200 a ton, this represents $149,000! There are also some twenty tons of crude copper, from the Mammoth Copperopolls smelter, worth say $400 per ton; and then comes the product of the Germania separating and refining works, which turns out the pure gold, silver, copper and lead from the base bullion." (Helena Weekly Herald, October 16, 1873)

January 1, 1877
"The bullion shipped from the territory according to the tonnage report of the Utah Central railroad for the year 1876, amounts to 20,030 tons, while our reports from the smelters show as follows." (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1877)

Chicago (Stockton) 2,517 tons
Galena (West Jordan) 2,350 tons
Waterman (Stockton) 2,100 tons
Flagstaff (Sandy) 2,000 tons
Davenport (Sandy) 2,000 tons
Germania (Murray) 1,700 tons
Longmaid (Stockton) 1,700 tons
Sheridan Hill (West Jordan) 1,700 tons
Saturn (Sandy) 1,600 tons
Pascoe (Warm Springs) 1,200 tons
Morgan (Murray) 300 tons
Wasatch (Murray) 100 tons
Total 20,017 tons

During mid 1877, the larger mines and smelter of Utah were idle due to the low price of metals on the metal markets of th east. Mine and smelter owners met with officials of Union Pacific, asking for a reduction in freight rates, to help mines better compete on the national markets. The mines had already removed their high-grade ore, and the low price of metals, together with high freight rates, were making it difficult for Utah mines and smelters to pay their expenses in mining the low-grade ores that remained. These major mines (a total of eight) included: Jordan, Neptune and Kempton, Saturn, Utah, Winnamuck, Spanish, and Davenport. The idle smelters (a total of nine smelters, with 24 stacks) included: Jordan (3 stacks); Sheridan Hill (4); Saturn (2); Davenport (2); and Winnamuck (3). (The New North-West [Deer Lodge, Montana], June 29, 1877, citing Salt Lake Tribune, June 21, 1877)

January 5, 1878
"The smelters of the Territory comprise the following companies: Paseoe's, two stacks. running; B. W. Morgan's, one stack, running; Wasatch, two stacks. running; Shumer, one stack, idle; Germania, three stacks, running; Gorden, six stacks, running: Sheridan Hill, two stacks, idle; Winnamuck, two stacks, idle; Flagstaff, four stacks, idle; Sandy, three stacks, idle; Mingo, four stacks, running; American, three stacks, idle; Sultana, three stacks, idle; J. D. Williams, one stack, idle; Frisco, one stack, idle; Queen, one stack, running; Chicago, three stacks, idie; Waterman, one stack, running. Most of these smelters, in addition to their biast-furnaces, have reverberating or roasting furnaces, and there are five concentration works." (The Inter-Ocean [Chicago], January 5, 1878)

The large amounts of lead coming from the Horn Silver mine during the late 1879 time period shown above give a good indication of Union Pacific's motivation to complete construction of its Utah Southern Extension Railroad between the end of the Utah Southern at Juab, and Frisco. After UP gained control of Utah Southern in mid 1875, its terminus remained at York until early 1879. It was the developing Horn Silver mine, which UP's officers also had an interest in, that was the motivation for rapid completion of railroad service to Frisco. Work resumed March 1879 and reached Frisco on June 23, 1880. Until that time, and throughout 1879 and early 1880, the stream of wagons between Frisco and the smelter in Murray (235 miles) must have been quite a sight to see. It would have to have been a stream of wagons, given the above mentioned production figures for finished unrefined lead.

At the beginning of 1880, there were ten lead smelters in Utah, with the following order of production (largest first). (Deseret News, January 7, 1880)

Horn Silver Mining Company (Frisco and Murray) 4,850 tons
Old Telegraph Company (Midvale) 3,050 tons
Mingo Furnace Company (Sandy) 1,950 tons
Morgan Smelter (Murray) 1,350 tons
Germania Smelting & Refining Works (Murray) 1,150 tons
Chicago Smelter (Stockton) 850 tons
Waterman Smelter (Stockton) 117.5 tons
Marsac Company 15 tons
Pascoe (Warm Springs) 7 tons

In the ten year period between 1896 and 1906, there was a general increase in the production of lead, copper, and gold from the Bingham district and it had become the leading copper producing camp in Utah.

"Complying with Court Decree copper smelting was discontinued in Salt Lake Valley December 31, 1907. However, before the closing down of the three going copper smelters in Salt Lake Valley, preparation for their replacement had been made by new and more modern plants, the Garfield Smelter of the American Smelting and Refining Company erected near the south shores of Great Salt Lake and the Tooele plant of the International Smelting and Refining Company erected at the mouth of Pine Canyon overlooking Tooele Valley. The Garfield Smelter started operations in 1906, principally for the reduction of Utah Copper Concentrates but also custom ores. The Tooele Smelter got into operation in 1911, principally for the reduction of Highland Boy ores but also custom ores, and was equipped for the smelting of both copper sulfides and lead-silver ores." (Thomas Parry Billings, "History of the Bingham Mining District", written c.1952)

Bingham Smelters

Buel & Bateman

(David E. Buel and Issac C. Bateman) (or Colonel E. D. Buel)

(The Buel & Bateman smelter was on the same site as their Buel & Bateman mine in Galena Gulch, Bingham Canyon. The mine was located just down-canyon from the West Jordan claim on which the Jordan and Old Jordan mines were located.)

The first smelter in Utah "was by the Utah Smelting company and was erected in Bingham, its stacks being blown in first on September 20, 1870." "The old site of this smelter and the mine from which its ores were taken are now the property of the Niagara Mining and Smelting company, and remains of the old slag dump are still apparent to the passer-by." (Salt Lake Tribune, July 22, 1897; describing a float for the Pioneer Day parade that depicted the first smelter in the state.) (The original source show 1860 as the date; likely a typographical error for 1870.)

Utah smelter operated from 1871 to 1873. (Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 7, p.90)

"Other mines in this area were located and worked, among them the Neptune, Kempton, Wall Street, and the Damn Fool. The Utah mine was located by soldiers from Camp Douglas and the 1871 owners, Buel and Bateman, built a nearby smelter. This mine was sold to an English Company at a price said to have been in the neighborhood of $450,000. In 1879 T. R. Jones, a banker of Salt Lake City, purchased the property." (Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 7, p.89)

April 22, 1871
"Buel and Bateman's furnace started in Bingham canyon last Saturday (April 22, 1871), and bids fair to do a first-class business in the future. It is run with charcoal shipped from Truckee, Cal." (Salt Lake Tribune, April 25, 1871)

April 28, 1871
"Bullion Coming In. - Bullion was arriving yesterday afternoon from the Bateman & Buel smelting works, Bingham canyon, and being stacked up in front of the company's office. These works are now running steadily and turning out a fine quality of bullion." (Salt Lake Herald, April 28, 1871)

May 2, 1871
"Buel & Bateman's furnace in Bingham canyon is running regularly and turning out six tones of bullion daily. Their works at Little Cottonwood will start today. The last named works have been standing still for some time past for the want of ore, which the snows and bad weather have prevented the miners from getting on their dumps." (Salt Lake Tribune, May 2, 1871)

May 13, 1871
"Buel & Bateman's furnace at Bingham smelts about twenty-two tons of ore per day, using twenty-seven and a half bushels of charcoal to smelt one tons of ore, the same costing thirty-seven and a half cents per bushel delivered at the furnace. Messrs. Wilson & Taggart are duplicating these works at another point in this canyon. The three furnaces on the State Road south of this city they found idle; also Robins and Co.'s expensive works at Little Cottonwood." (Salt Lake Tribune, May 13, 1871, citing a trip made on May 10th by Messrs. Hefferman and Coff of Corinne.)

May 6, 1871
Mr. Bateman sold his interest in his mine to the newly organized Utah Silver Mining Company (Limited), in exchange for a certain number of shares in the new company. On or about March 3, 1973, Issac Bateman (of Buel & Bateman) was elected as president of the Utah Silver Mining Company (Limited). (Salt Lake Tribune, July 22, 1871; March 3, 1873)

January 23, 1872
"The Buel and Bateman furnace has been shut down indefinitely, for reasons best known to the parties interested therein." (Corinne Daily Reporter, January 23, 1872)

February 17, 1872
"Salt Lake Iron Works -- About fifty hundred (5000) pounds of castings were turned out at these works Thursday afternoon for the Utah Central Milling Company. This is the English company that bought out Buel & Bateman's works and mines at Bingham. The castings are mainly for three furnaces, which the company are erecting at Sandy station." (Salt Lake Tribune, February 17, 1872)


In 1903 the Copper Belt railroad built spurs and extensions to get the ore traffic of other mining companies in the canyon. The new construction included a spur to Boston Consolidated mine and the Yampa Consolidated mine, both in Carr Fork, along with another spur to the Yampa Consolidated's smelter. (1909 Bingham Commercial Club Souvenir booklet)

The Yampa Consolidated Mining Co., had been organized in April 1901 as a consolidation of Yampa mine and seven other properties, all located on the north slope of Carr Fork. (Economic Geology of the Bingham Mining District, USGS Professional Paper No. 38, 1905, page 382)

The Yampa smelter was completed in December 1903 and was located on the north slope of the canyon, about a quarter mile below Rio Grande Western's Bingham station. (Economic Geology of the Bingham Mining District, USGS Professional Paper No. 38, 1905, page 302)

The spur to the Yampa smelter crossed the canyon just above the Bingham station and continued along the north slope of Bingham Canyon to the smelter.

The new Copper Belt spur for Boston Consolidated was built after the mining company signed a two-year smelting contract to supply the Bingham Consolidated smelter in Midvale with 200 tons of ore per day. By October 1903, Boston Con was shipping as much as 500 tons per day from the Carr Fork mine. The mine was shipping 4,000 tons by February 1904. (Economic Geology of the Bingham Mining District, USGS Professional Paper No. 38, 1905, page 381)

Considering that the average rail car at this time had a 30-ton capacity, 500 tons per day would have been about 16 carloads per day, and 4,000 tons per month would have been a total of about 133 cars per month, or just four carloads per day, averaged out over the month. This ore was all moving over the Copper Belt line to Bingham, then by RGW to Midvale.

Billings wrote, "The Yampa smelter, located on the west slope of the main canyon below the town of Bingham, started operations in the early part of 1904, producing a copper matte which was shipped to one of the Salt Lake Valley smelters for converting into slab copper preparatory for refining."

(Read more about the Yampa mine and smelter)


The company was first organized as the Winnamuck Silver Mining Company. (London Times, June 19, 1873)

The Seventh Annual Report of the Statistics of Mines and Mining in the United States, prepared in 1875 for the 43rd Congress, pages 409-414, stated that the Winnamuck smelter used many ground-breaking processes in the treatment of lead-silver-zinc ore in Utah. Alfred Wartenweiler was the metallurgist at the Winnamuck and introduced the matte-roasting process to Utah. The 1875 report summarized the findings that the smelting processes used were successful for the earliest types of ore, but as different ore was encountered lower in the mine, it became difficult to process the ore unless ore with different metallurgy from other mines was purchased, or the mines themselves purchased. The greatest difficulty was obtaining coke of sufficient quality to be used as fuel during the smelting process. The best coke had to be shipped in from Pennsylvania, which increased to overall costs and made the operation unprofitable.

April 19, 1871
"Messrs. Daggett [Taggart] and Bristol are clearing off the ground and excavating for the foundation of a large smelting works at the base of the mountain below their shaft on the Winnamucca Lode. They have traced this mineral vein to the depth of 318 feet, with what results your correspondent is not informed for Messrs. D. and B. are reticent." "April 17, 1871" (Salt Lake Tribune, April 19, 1871)

(William B. Bristol, Bingham Canyon, and Ellsworth Daggett, Omaha)

June 5, 1871
"Bingham Canon, June 5th, 1871. - The Winnamucca Smelting Works commence operations to-day." (Salt Lake Herald, June 7, 1871) (Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 7, p.90, shows that the Winnamuck smelter was built in Autumn 1871.)

April 1, 1872
"The Winnamuck Smelting Works are in successful operation. One of these furnaces has been in running since the first of April, turning out an average five ton of bullion per day, the assay value of which is 520 oz. silver per ton bullion. I understand the company intend starting their other furnace in a few days." (Utah Mining Gazette, April 13, 1872)

July 11, 1873
"Winnamuck Mine, Elllsworth Daggett, superintendent. This is the most extensively developed mine in Utah. The shafts, inclines, tunnels, drifts and levels, that have been run on the mine, amounting in the aggregate to over three thousand feet. the property was incorporated in London for two millions. Most of the stock is held in Holland. One of the largest smelters in the Territory is built at the mine. A tramway, about one hundred feet in length, runs from the mouth of the tunnel to the smelter below. The ores of this mine, owing to the facilities which they have for working them, can be reduced at a less expense than those of any other mine in the Territory. The works are now reducing about 500 tons per month. The Superintendent has commenced the publication of a series of interesting articles to the Engineering and Mining Journal, on the "Economical results of smelting in Utah." We would commend their perusal to some of our Utah smelters." (Salt Lake Herald, July 11, 1873)

December 6, 1873
"The Bingham Canyon narrow gauge railroad now being completed as far as its terminus, near the Winnamuck smelter,..." (Utah Mining Gazette, December 6, 1873)

April 16, 1874
Morris & Evans, contractors, were building a reverberatory furnace for the Winnamuck company at Bingham. The same company was set to build a similar referberatory furnace for the Sheridan Hill company at West Jordan. (Deseret Evening news, April 16, 1874)

January 22, 1875
It was reported that the smelter, with over 500 tons of ore on hand, had been shut down due to difficulty in obtaining coal and coke. (Salt Lake Herald, January 22, 1875)

(Read more about the Winnamuck mill, which became the terminus of the railroad in Bingham)

Midvale Smelters

Sheridan Hill

Sheridan Hill Mining and Smelting Company, incorporated in the State of New York.

The earliest record of a lead smelter built at Midvale was that of the Sheridan Hill smelter, which was constructed by J. W. Kerr and Isadore Morris in 1871 to treat ores from the Nepline (Neptune?) mine at Bingham. The smelter was located just south of the Midvale site of the United States smelter. (Oquirrh Mountains Mining and the Environment by Eva J. Hoffman, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Denver, April 21, 2005)

(The EPA Superfund web site places the location of the Sheridan Hill smelter as 7500 South and 200 West.)

(Billings shows that the Sheridan Hill smelter was built in 1873.)

The following comes from "Department Of The Interior, Statistics And Technology Of The Precious Metals," 1885, page 409:

The Sheridan Hill Mining and Smelting Company, which failed in 1876, had their stacks on the Jordan river, and worked the Neptune and Kempton, Wall Street (now Northern Chief), and the Damn Fool (now Bonanza). These mines were discovered about 1872, and were vigorously worked in 1874, 1875, and 1876. Their total product for these years is estimated at over $800,000. Since that time but little profitable work has been done.

February 24, 1873
"The Sheridan Hill Mining and Smelting Company was incorporated in the State of New York with an initial capital of $600,000 on February 24, 1873." "The company was established to mine ores found in the Sheridan Hill Mine and to smelt that ore and other purchased ores from nearby mines." (Charles Hughes, "The Development of the Smelting Industry in the Central Salt Lake Valley Communities of Midvale, Murray, and Sandy Prior to 1900," 1990, page 60)

September 1983
"The Sheridan Hill Smelter began smelting operations in September 1873. Only two furnaces were in operation on this date." (Charles Hughes, "The Development of the Smelting Industry in the Central Salt Lake Valley Communities of Midvale, Murray, and Sandy Prior to 1900," 1990, page 61)

October 19, 1873
"Salt Lake, October 18. -- The First National Bank has attached Saturn and Sheridan Hill Mining Co.'s furnaces and Camp Floyd mill. Work will be carried on as usual under the charge of officers. An immense quantity of bullion is locked up and in consequence there is a lack of currency. Silver is selling at less than 70 cents per ounce. General depression in mining circles. Trains are running on the Bingham Canon narrow gauge railway." (The Des Moines Register, October 19, 1873)

November 24, 1873
"Sheridan Hill Company -- Sheridan Hill Smelting Company, West Jordan, are having two additional large smelting furnaces constructed. Schoenberg brothers are the managers of this company." (Deseret Evening News, November 24, 1873)

November 26, 1873
"Extensive Works. -- Carson & Buzzo are making some very extensive improvements at their smelting works, near West Jordan Bridge. Buildings are in course of erection there 290 feet long by 40 feet wide, for storing fuel and for reverberators for calcining the ores. Another building is also being put up which will be 160 feet long by 36 feet wide, and in which there will be six smelting furnaces. A flue 150 feet long and chimney stack over sixty feet high are already completed. The other additions and improvments will probably be finished within two or three weeks. These are the largest smelting works in Utah. Morris & Evans are the contractors who are putting up the buildings. Carson & Buzzo are the proprietors of very rich mines in Bingham." (Deseret News, Weekly edition, November 26, 1873)

April 16, 1874
Morris & Evans, contractors, were set to build a reverberatory furnace for the Sheridan Hill company at West Jordan. The same company was already building a similar referberatory furnace for the Winnamuck company in Bingham. (Deseret Evening news, April 16, 1874)

March 1874
The Sheridan Hill Smelting Company began operations in March 1874. (Charles Hughes, "The Development of the Smelting Industry in the Central Salt Lake Valley Communities of Midvale, Murray, and Sandy Prior to 1900," 1990, page 60)

June 26, 1874
"Neptune and Kempton. -- We learn that Dr.Bredemeyer has been engaged to take charge of the workings of the Neptune and Kempton mine, Bingham, and that he will enter upon his new duties this morning. The hoisting works at the mine mentioned, in the Herald a short time ago as being erected, have been completed and are now working satisfactorily. About forty tons of f ore daily are being mined with twenty-five men, but the force is soon to be increased. The company have just secured the services of one of the most experienced furnacemen in the country, mr. A. Arents, to take charge of their smelter - the Sheridan Hill." (Salt Lake Herald, June 26, 1874)

July 1, 1875
"The Sheridan Hill smelters have started up, indicating immediate work on the Neptune and Kempton mines." (Real Estate and Mining Gazette [Salt Lake City], July 1, 1875)

The Sheridan Hill smelter was still in operation in October 1875, when a spontaneous strike took place by smelter workers. (George M. Addy, "The Economic and Social History of Bingham Canyon, Utah, Considered With Special Reference to Mormon-Gentile Synthesis", 1949, page 107, citing Deseret News, Weekly edition, October 25, 1875)

January 5, 1876
"Edward Balbachs & Son have commenced an action in Utah courts, against the Sheridan Hill Mining and Smelting Company and others to foreclose a mortgage given to secure the payment of $100,000." (Nevada State Journal, January 5, 1876)

March 18, 1876
"A suit for foreclosure of mortgage brought by the creditors of the Sheridan Hill Mining Company, comes on in a fortnight. This involves the ownership of the Neptune and Kempton mine in Bingham, and the Sheridan Hill Smelting Works on the Jordan." (Engineering & Mning Journal, March 25, 1876, page 294)

October 21, 1876
Nine men were arrested for rioting at the Sheridan Hill smelter, in reaction to a new manager not agreeing to limit them to an eight-hour work shift due to the harmful effects of metallic fumes at the smelter. Each was fined $500. (Deseret News, October 21, 1876; November 1, 1876)

January 1, 1877
"The Sheridan Hill Smelter is situated at West Jordan on the Bingham Canyon railroad, and is built on one of the most eligible sites to be found in the country, with an ample and inexhaustable water-power privilage. It is understood to be the property of three Salt Lake gentlemen, it having fallen into their hands on a mortgage from the original owners. It is a good piece of property, and with some needed repairs and improvements in the style of the furnaces, it would rank among the best smelters of the country. Yet it has done, with its three stacks running only a portion of the time, a good year's work. Giving employment to an average of twenty men the entire twelve months, and it has turned out 173 car lots of base bullion of eleven tons to the car, worth, according to Superintendent Rumfield's calculation, $2,000 to the car load, or total value of $346,000." (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1877)

August 21, 1877
"The Sheridan Hill has been idle for months." (Due to the low price of metals?) (The Inter-Ocean [Chicago], August 21, 1877)

November 3, 1877
"The Sheridan Hill Mining and Smelting Company, owners of the Neptune and Kempton mines in Bingham Canon, is another of the good properties which has become bankrupt by official mismanagement and incapacity. When a change was made in the direction, it was already too late, and last spring it "passed in its checks" to its creditors. The smelting works are idle, but the mine is being worked by Jackson & Co., lessees." (Enginering and Mining Journal, November 3, 1877, page 333)

(A review of available online newspapers shows no more references to the Sheridan Hill smelter after August 1877.)

(By July 31, 1881, the Neptune and Kempton mines were shown as being part of the Jordan group. -- Salt Lake Herald, July 31, 1881)


December 1872
Work started on the smelting works of the Galena Silver Mining Company, located where the Bingham Canyon & Camp Floyd Railroad was to cross the Jordan River on its way between a connection with Utah Southern at Sandy, and the mines in Bingham Canyon. Surveying work for the railroad had begun one month previously in November 1872. (Clarence A. Reeder, "The History Of Utah's Railroads, 1869 - 1883, Chapter 5, citing the Salt Lake Tribune, December 10, 1872)

"The Jordan mine is the oldest in the canyon and was purchased by J. W. Kerr & Company, who, in 1872, erected the Galena Smelter. Later the property in Bingham and Midvale was bought by Carson and Buzzo who constructed a 12-mile-long wooden flume, at a cost of $120,000, to furnish water power. After the Galena Silver Mining Company became the owners, they built the Galena Smelter on the Jordan River and, in 1877, sold the property to the Jordan Mining and Milling Company." (Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 7, p.88)

March 5, 1874
Carson & Buzzo had contracted for the construction of a canal from a point on the Jordan river, to their furnaces, a distance of nine miles. The canal was to be completed by June 20th, and "will give the company water power equal to 500 horsepower, with which to run the machinery of their thirteen furnaces, to be erected immediately." The cost was reported as being $35,000. (Salt Lake Herald, March 5, 1874)

March 14, 1874
The water power from the canal, 9-1/2 miles, would be sufficient to smelt 200 tons per day. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 14, 1874)

January 1, 1877
"The Galena Smelter is situated at the same place as the Sheridan Hill and almost joins it on the north. This smelter, which is now in the hands of Captain Selfrdge, has seven furnaces. Three of them have been leased to L. E. Holden, who has torn out the old stacks and is replacing them with others of an improved pattern. They will be ready to fire up early in the spring. Of the four remaining stacks, two , and some of the time, only one is kept running, but they are large and of sufficient capacity to reduce all the ores the company may desire to handle during the coming season. In the last year 235 carlads of base bullion, or 2,470 tons, of an average value of $1,600 per car load, have been produced from the yield of the Jordan mine and custom ores from the Cottonwoods and Bingham." "The Jordan company have in connection with the smelter, a sampling mill, where they have sampled every fifth sack of the 12,0350 tons of ore ran through their smelter in the past year, as well as having much work of the same character for other parties. At present they sample about 300 tons each month, including that which they purchase for their own use. The business is under the able supervision of Captain Selfridge, who is running the concern to win, while Mr. G. P. Lockwood is in charge of the smelter and the gang of workmen, some thirty in number." (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1877)

March 7, 1877
"Prof. Holden, however, has not limited his efforts to mining alone, but proceeded on the hypothesis that what man dare he can do. Last fall he leased a portion of the Galena smelter on Jordan, and engaged Mr. Longmaid to put up three new wrought iron water jacket furnaces, which have recently been fired up on Old telegraph ore, with sufficiency of flux, and it is found to work admirably. The great difficulty in smelting Utah ores has been to avoid blowing the profits out of the stack, which has been done in the form of dust carrying about twenty per cent of the value contained in the ores. High blast and lack of fume condensers have caused the ruin of quite a number who have engaged in the smelting enterprise in this Territory. But the Old Telegraph chief, with an eye single to economy, says it is cheaper to run many furnaces with a low blast, little dust and less waste, than to scatter the profits of the business to the four winds of heaven through a single smoke stack. Hence he has leased the entire Galena smelter and will immediately commence the erection of three more furnaces, all for the reduction of ore from the Old Telegraph." (Salt Lake Tribune, March 7, 1877)

(Read more about the smelters at Midvale)

Murray Smelters

The first successful smelter in Utah, with direct access to railroad service, was built by the Woodhull Brothers in June 1870, to process the ore from their mine in Little Cottonwood canyon. To provide the needed water supply, this early smelter was located where the Utah Southern railroad line crossed Big Cottonwood Creek (at about 4900 South, by today's street numbering system).

The Woodhull Brothers smelter later became the Morgan smelter, and then the Hanauer smelter.


January 1, 1877
"The Wasatch Smelter is located on the north bank of the Little Cottonwood stream opposite the Germania. It is the property of R. P. Lounesberry, and has been idle for a number of months. Recently, however, Conklin, Jones & Co., have leased it, put in a new water-jacket furnace, erected a roasting oven, and made such improvements generally as will enable the leasees to do good and rapid work. They have a contract to run on a portion of the ore from the Old Telegraph mine in Bingham, and although it is found by other smelters that this ore is refactory, it is proposed to work it at the Wasatch by a process which will enable them to smelt it separately. The furnace has only been running ore one month, during which time about 100 tons of bullion have been produced. Seventeen men are employed at this smelter." (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1877)


The following comes from the January 1, 1877 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune:

The Germania Smelter is situated on Little Cottonwood creek, about six miles south of Salt Lake City, and on the line of the Utah Southern railroad. It is owned by a foreign corporation, and perhaps is one of the most complete works of the kind on the Pacific coast. It is conducted with skill and energy, and turns out the purest lead bullion produced in Utah.

The machinery about this establishment is of the lead manufacture, and does its work constantly and without stoppages. The engine, which has been in use four years, is a very fine one, of forty horse-power, being of ample capacity to keep up the blasts of both the furnaces, wile the pump, by the timely use of which the works have been saved several times from destruction by fire, is one of the neatest to be found at any of the smelters. It is capable throwing three hundred gallons of water per minute!

During the past year many improvements have been made. A new steam boiler to supply te place of the old one has been put in; new refining works for separating the silver from the base bullion have been constructed and will be in operation in the course of a few months, and other improvements of a minor character have replaced less convenient and substantial things about the place. At present the germania has both of its water jacket furnaces in full blast. They are in point of safety to the health and lives of those employed about them, unsurpassed by ay furnaces at the smelters of Salt Lake county. The fume condensers are almost perfect, so that the poisonous dust arising with the smoke, is caught before it reaches the open air, while the feed doors of the furnaces are so arranged as to make it impossible for fumes to escape into the building and lead the men.

The ores smelted at these works are brought from various parts of the country. besides those produced in Utah mines, which form the basis of the supply, a considerable quantity of high grade ores from Montana and Idaho is used in connection with the low grade lead ores from our own mines, for the purpose of raising the percentages of silver in the bullion turned out above the standard of one hundred and ten ounces to the ton, which gives the bulion a readier sale in the market.

The process of preserving the standard of bullion is done in a manner peculiar to the Germania. When the contents of the several classes of ores have been ascertained by sampling, a given quantity from each lot is spread out on the floor in layers one upon the other, until a pile of fifty or a hundred tons of all the requisite classes is accumulated, and then from this the furnaces are supplied, one pile being used up while another is being built. In this manner the garde of bullion produced is always kept approximately near to the required standard, so that the managers have an idea from day to day what will be produced for a week ahead.

On an average forty men are constantly employed, running two shifts every twenty-four hours. But the works are so perfect about the Germania, that leading is very rare.

During the past year this smelter has produced 1,700 tons of base bullion of the average value fo $235 per ton, or a total valuation of $262,500. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1877)

GERMANIA SMELTING AND REFINING COMPANY.--This is the only refining works in the territory. It was completed in the autumn of 1872 as refining works only. Smelting furnaces were added in the spring of 1874, since which time the works have been running continuously in some department. It is situated on the Utah Southern railroad, 7 miles south of Salt Lake City, and consists of one reverberatory furnace for roasting ore and matte or slagging flue-dust, three shaft smelting furnaces, three softening and refining fuurnaces This is among the most important metallurgical works of the west. It cost a large sum of money, is complete, well managed, and probably profitable. In the last few years it has divided with the Morgan and the Mingo smelters the greater part of the trade in Utah ores. For a description of the works, necessarily imperfect owing to later changes and improvements, reference may be had to the United States Mining Commissioner's report for 1873, page 261; and for 1875, page 416. ("Department Of The Interior, Statistics And Technology Of The Precious Metals," 1885)


The following comes from the January 1, 1877 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune:

The Morgan Smelter, situated on the south bank of the Big Cottonwood stream, and close to the line of the Utah Southern railroad, is a new works, and considering it has but one furnace, it is a very superior smelter, if the quality and not quantity of bullion produced by it are facts to judge from. It has been completed and running about thirty days altogether, during which time some thirty-five car lots of bullion have been turned out, the average capacity of the one stack being sixteen tons every twenty-four hours. But owing to the limited supply of ore to be had at present, twelve tons is its average daily product. When it was first fired up, to test its capacity, it was put under full blast and given all the ore it could take. The result was two car loads every twenty-four hours were produced.

A breakage in the machinery delayed operations for a week, early in December, and the fact that a sufficient supply of ore is hard to get, the number of tons they produced in one month was limited to 350. Of course the furnace in this smelter is the chief feature, being the largest stack in the country. It is a water-jacket furnace, on which Mr. Morgan has a patent. Each of the four sides is hung to the deck beam by hinges, and the whole are kept in position by an iron belt, which may at any time be removed, thus permitting the jackets to be swung up to the roof of the building to allow repairs to the furnace, causing only a few hours delay.

The machinery is all first class, the buildings and coal sheds conveniently and substantially built, and when all the designed improvements are finished this will be a paying smelter, turning out superior quality of lead bullion. Twenty-five picked men, all of extensive experience in smelting, and none other, are employed. They work eight-hour shifts, and the company pays the highest wages. The smelter is the property of B. W. Morgan & Co.

In 1899, American Smelting & Refining Company was organized by combining the Germania and Hanauer smelters at Murray, the Mingo smelter at Sandy, and the Ibex smelter at Leamington.

July 1902
ASARCO built its new smelter at Murray, with operations starting in July 1902.

(Read more about the smelters at Murray)

Sandy Smelters


January 1, 1877
"The Davenport, at the mouth of Little Cottonwood canyon, is at present shut down. It was run by Mather & Geist the first nine months of the year, on Flagstaff and other Cottonwood ores, and during this time 200 car loads of bullion was produced, woth about $100,000, but when the firm leased the Flagstaff smelter, they closed down the Davenport." (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1877)


June 3, 1877
The Flagstaff smelter, located on the Union Pacific tracks in Sandy, was processing the lead ore from the Spanish mine in Bingham. The price in lead had declined sharply, but the Spanish mine was still in operation because they had a fixed-price contract with the Flagstaff smelter. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 3, 1877)

September 17, 1891
"D. W. Brunton, of Taylor & Brunton sampling works, is in town; his company is to put up new works below the Germania smelter, the building to be 40 by 127 feet, the central part being 40 feet square and three stories high, and it will be located between the R. G. W. and U. P. tracks." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, September 17, 1891)

July 1, 1891
The Mingo Smelting Company was incorporated in Utah "yesterday" (July 1), with James E. Schwartz of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, holding 4,970 of the 5,000 shares. Schwartz was also president and director. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 2, 1891)


November 27, 1871
"The Saturn Silver Mining Company of Utah, have in the process of erection at Sandy station, three smelting furnaces, and when completed will be able to smelt 50 tons of ore daily. The company are composed of English stockholders, and are preparing to go into the reduction of base ores on an extensive scale. the point selected for their furnaces is one of the very best in the Territory, accessible at all times by railroad, and convenient to the several mining districts, will be in successful operation about the middle of next month. S. C. Raymond is their general superintendent in the Territory." (Utah Mining Gazette, November 27, 1871)

January 1, 1877
"The Saturn is situated at Sandy station, and is one of the oldest smelters in the country. It is running only one stack, but since it as been under the control and management of Mr. John W. Kerr and other Salt Lake parties, it has been well conducted. One hundred and sixty car lots of 42,000 to the car, is its product of base bullion for the last year. The old dump of slag is being overhauled for the [xxxxx] in it, and will be put through the furnace with ore. At present the works are shut down for repairs and improvements, but they will be started up again in the course of a few days. This smelter is under the immediate supervision of Mr. A. A. Gauschat, who is a capable and energetic gentleman." (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1877)


MINGO FURNACE COMPANY.--Two stacks were built in 1872, and were known as the Mountain Chief furnaces. They ran a few months, and then were idle until November, 1876, when the property came into the possession of the Mingo Company, a branch of the Pittsburgh Lead Company. The old stacks were repaired, and two others were erected in October, 1877. One or more furnaces have been run quite steadily upon ore purchased in the Salt Lake market. The works are situated a half a mile south of Sandy, on the Utah Southern railroad, are complete, clean, airy, and well managed. ("Department Of The Interior, Statistics And Technology Of The Precious Metals," 1885)

January 1, 1877
"The Mingo Smelter, or the Mountain Chief, which adjoins the Saturn, and has been lying idle for several years, has been leased by a Pittsburg company and put into repair. two large furnaces have been built, from the ground up, new machinery put in and other extensive and substantial improvements made. It is now one of the most convenient smelters in the country, of a capacity of fifteen tons of bullion daily, and is under the management of men who have had life long experience in the business. It begins operation with the new year, under most flattering prospects for a continued and successful run." (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1877)

Garfield Smelters

Utah Copper completed their Copperton mill in April 1904, and commenced operations in September, shipping its low grade ore from the mine to the Copperton mill, by way of the Copper Belt and the Rio Grande Western. (Arrington: Richest Hole, p. 39; Kennecott's own Historical Index says that operations commenced on July 1, 1904)

April 29, 1904
Utah Copper was reorganized as a New Jersey corporation. This new company was organized to provide the finances necessary for further expansion of both mining operations, and milling operations, assuming that the experimental mill at Copperton would be successful. (Kennecott Historical Index)

Until June 1907, all of the ore came from Utah Copper's underground mine. The concentrates from Utah Copper's Copperton mill were shipped to the Bingham Consolidated smelter at Midvale, by way of the RGW.

The expansion of Utah Copper's operation came from the Guggenheims, who also held majority interest in Standard Oil. One of their investment vehicles, the Guggenheim Exploration Company, provided the funding for Utah Copper to build its new mill at Magna, and the reorganization of Utah Copper in April 1904 was the result of the influx of Guggenheim money. The Guggenheims were also the majority owners of American Smelting & Refining (ASARCO), who had bought majority interests in most of the Salt Lake Valley smelters, wanting to consolidate the smelting operations in one large location to benefit from economies of scale that such an operation would provide. To tie their two new properties together, i.e., funding the expansion of Utah Copper, and consolidating the Utah smelters into a new large smelter at Garfield, Utah Copper signed a 20-year contract with ASARCO that would both guarantee a market for Utah Copper mining operations, and through their new mill at Magna, provide copper concentrates for the new Garfield smelter. (Arrington: Richest Hole, p. 46)

Construction on the new Utah Copper mill began in November 1905. (Engineering and Mining Journal, March 17, 1906, p. 534; see also Arrington: Richest Hole, p. 50)

Construction of the Garfield smelter began in 1905. (Arrington: Richest Hole, p. 47)

To formally get the new smelter organized and under construction, the Garfield Smelting Company was incorporated on November 17, 1905, as a subsidiary of the American Smelting & Refining Co. (Utah corporation files, index 5411)

The Garfield smelter began operations in August 1906. (Arrington: Richest Hole, p. 47)

(Read more about the smelters at Garfield)

More Information

Chip Hughes' Thesis -- "The Development of the Smelting Industry in the Central Salt Lake Valley Communities of Midvale, Murray, and Sandy Prior to 1900" by Charles E. Hughes, Brigham Young University, 1990 (PDF; 124 pages; 8.2MB)