Monthly Archives: November 2009

The Cupola Building (p1)

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The slag that is removed from the reverberatory furnaces contains as much as 18 percent copper – too rich to simply dump as waste and not nearly rich enough to re-work in the furnaces with any success. In order to capture these last remaining drops of copper the slag is …

The Warehouse

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Once the molten copper has been poured into ingots and allowed to cool, the finished product is then sent via tramcar to its final stop at the Quincy Smelting Complex – the dockside warehouse. This large wooden structure was one of the complex’s original structures, originally built in 1898. It …

Smelter Tech: Walker Casting Machine

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An automated casting machine at work In the beginning, the finished copper from the Quincy furnaces were molded into ingots using a very labor intensive process. In essence workers would scoop out the copper with long handled ladles and then proceed to pour the copper into lines of waiting molds. …

The Casting Plant (p2)

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The 1920’s era casting plant at the Quincy Smelting works was built primarily for one reason: to house the automating casting machine built to supplement the newly minted No.3/No.5 combo furnace installed in the old reverberatory furnace buildings. The machine greatly increased the speed of the casting process as well …

The Casting Plant (p1)

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When the new No.3/No.5 combo furnace was installed at the Quincy Smelting Works, a large component of the new system was an automatic casting mechanism. This machine was housed in a large steel-framed extension added to the east end of the No.5 furnace building, a structure known as the Casting …

The Combo Furnace (p2)

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Unlike its predecessor to the west, the No.5 furnace building is a very plain and uninspired structure. Unlike the sandstone prestige of its predecessor, the No.5 building’s iron trusses and corrugated metal siding give the structure a “cheaper” look. The building’s interior is just as pedestrian, an observation we made …

The Combo Furnace (p1)

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When the Quincy Smelter was first built, its compliment of four reverberatory furnaces was more than adequate in meeting the company’s needs. Over the ensuing years, however, the smelter’s capacities would become strained as the complex began handling an increased workload from not only the Quincy Mine itself, but also …

Smelter Tech: The Reverberatory Furnace

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The copper that arrived to the smelter was anywhere from 70 to 90 percent pure. Due to the unique nature of Lake Superior copper, most of those impurities manifested themselves as pieces of foreign rock imbedded within the copper itself. As a result Copper Country smelters – including the Quincy …

A Reverberatory Furnace

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When it was first built in 1898 Quincy’s furnace building was home to a total of four reverberatory furnaces. The furnaces had a combined monthly capacity of 1600 tons with each furnace having the capacity of smelting 36,000 pounds of mineral in a 24 hour period to produce an average …

The Furnace Building

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At the heart of any smelting operation is the furnace, where the actual work of melting and refining takes place. At the Quincy Smelting Works that furnace was of the reverberatory design, utilizing natural draft and a reflective (reverberating) thermal dynamic to convert the copper ore into molten metal. The …

Inside the Briquetting Plant

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A typical briquetting plant is essentially a mixing and pressing operation, utilizing generally two primary ingredients: the material to be made into briquettes and the binding agent necessary for that to happen. Those two agents are then mixed thoroughly and mechanically pressed into a small cylinder which is then cut …

Bins and Briquettes

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The minerals arriving to the Quincy Smelter were historically of two basic types – small to medium sized pieces referred to as barrel copper and larger more substantial pieces known as mass copper. Both of these types were easily smelted in the complex’s furnaces without much difficulty. But as stamping …

Inside the Mineral House

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The Quincy Smelter’s mineral house was a vital component of the company’s move to minimize its labor overhead and streamline its ore handling process. This was primarily accomplished through the use of 24 mineral storage bins, place in two back-to-back rows through the center of the building. These bins were …

The Mineral House

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The Quincy Smelter’s Mineral House (marked with an arrow) was built in 1904 to replace the old railroad warehouse sitting in front of it. While the Quincy Smelting Works were constructed in 1898, the complex wouldn’t acquire a dedicated mineral house for six more years. In those early years copper …

Welcome to the Quincy Smelter

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The Quincy Smelting Works is the last of the last, a lone remnant of an industrial juggernaut that once lined the Portage Waterway for miles. Like her shoreline brethren, the Quincy complex existed only to serve its copper masters, and when the copper empire died she died along with it. …

A Baltic Powder House

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It was rumored to exists somewhere out by the old Baltic Mine, and it looks like we finally have proof thanks to fellow explorer Jay Wrixon. Its the mines powder house, still in remarkable shape and hidden deep within the fall foliage of the southern range. At first glance its …