Pouring Molten Copper into Ingot Molds

Pouring Molten Copper into Ingot Molds. Calumet-Hecla Smelters, Lake Linden, Michigan.
So far back in history that there is no record, man knew about copper and worked with this metal. When the white man came to North America he found the American Indians in the vicinity of Lake Superior knew about the copper deposits here and had invented ways of hammering it into many forms. With the move of the white settler westward, the Michigan copper country was developed and at one time this state led in the production of this mineral. Today, however, Arizona, Montana and Utah--in the order named--exceed it.

While, as we have seen in other views, copper is sometimes mined from the surface, most of the ore occurs in veins deep in the earth. The copper-bearing rock is blasted free from the lode, or mother vein, dumped into tram cars, and is then sent to the stamp mills. At the stamp mills the rock is crushed, concentrated, and washed, after which it is ready to go to the smelter.

At the smelter, heat is the great factor in reducing the pure copper. The molten metal is dipped from the furnaces and poured into little molds. Observe the manner in which the dipper is operated. The long handle allows the man to work at some distance from the hot metal.

Our demands for copper have increased a thousandfold in the last few years. This is largely due to the calls made by electrical appliances. Copper, next to silver, is the best conductor of electric current known, and every time you talk on the telephone, or listen to your radio, ride in an automobile, you do so because of the work of the men in the copper mines and smelters.

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