• Smelter Tech: Walker Casting Machine

    Smelter Tech: Walker Casting Machine

    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...

  • Stamps, Jigs, and Wifleys

    Stamps, Jigs, and Wifleys

    The purpose of the Mohawk Mill – as with any stamp mill – was to separate the copper from the rock that incased it. The process relied on the differing physical properties of the two substances, speci...

  • Surface Plant

    Surface Plant

    part of the collection of buildings that make up Quincy’s surface plant A mine itself is only a collection of tunnels underground, connected in a honeycomb maze of drifts and shafts. (see “...

  • Putting the Pieces Together…

    Putting the Pieces Together…

    The Stella Cheese Factory? Before leaving the Stella Cheese Factory behind for good, there’s still one last mystery that I feel the need to explore. It has been said that when Stella moved into ...

CC Anatomy

“The majority of CCE takes a look at what remains of the vast industrial empire that once called the Copper Country home, remembering the past through the ghostly images of those ruins that still haunt the landscape today. But without knowing what purpose ruins once served were or the reasoning for their existence CCE is nothing more then a daily journal of pretty pictures. Our Copper Country Anatomy series attempts to remedy that situation, by presenting an in-depth look at the technology and infrastructure that was an integral part of the peninsula’s copper empire. These posts explain the how and the why, and present a window into the past that simple pretty pictures of ruins cannot do on their own. “

Mine Machines: Air Compressors


Before the application of electric generation to the Copper Country landscape, all of a mine’s mechanical power was only obtainable from steam. While this form of power was convenient for a mine’s surface plant where large boiler houses and smokestacks ... More »

Anatomy of a Mill (Jigs)


A long line of refining jigs at the Quincy Mill After leaving the final stages of the sizing process, the copper ore that entered the mill as pieces of rock have been reduced to a coarse gravel and mixed with ... More »

Anatomy of a Mill (Final Sizing)


The process of ore production neither begins or ends at the stamp mill, but instead stretches from the dark drifts of the underground right up to the smelter docks. This process consists of three main stages: sizing and sorting, separation, ... More »

Last Stamp Standing


&oiDuring the Copper Empire’s peak, over 100 steam stamps were in operation across the peninsula. As mines and their mills succumbed, these massive stamps were quickly sold or scrapped for quick cash. With the arrival of the Second World War ... More »

Copper Country Stacks


The prevalent use of steam power for most of the Copper Country’s history meant the need for a boiler house to provide that steam. That in turn meant the presence of a smokestack. Up until the installation of electric hoists ... More »

Surface Plant


part of the collection of buildings that make up Quincy’s surface plant A mine itself is only a collection of tunnels underground, connected in a honeycomb maze of drifts and shafts. (see “Anatomy of the Underground”) From the surface the ... More »



a rare brick structure in the Copper Country. This one belongs to the Atlas Powder Company, at Senter. When mines were first built along the Keweenaw it was done with materials that could be commonly found within the Peninsula itself. ... More »

Crushing and Sorting


Mining is simple. You drill holes into rock, you stuff explosives in those holes, and you blow the rock up into smaller pieces. From that point on everything at a mine – people, machines, buildings, and railroads – all work ... More »