Quincy Smelting Works

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. As time marched forward the sprawling industrial ruins around her were sacrificed to the region’s new master – tourism. The shoreline on which smelters, foundries, warehouses, and coal docks once stood were transformed to parks, boardwalks, and rows of townhouses. But through it all the Smelter has remained. Though battered and bruised and showing her age, the old gal continues to remind us all of the copper country’s rich industrial heritage.

Guest Post

Welcome to the Quincy Smelter

The Quincy Smelting Works is the last of the last, a lone remnant of an industrial juggernaut that once lined…
Industry

The Mineral House

The Quincy Smelter’s Mineral House (marked with an arrow) was built in 1904 to replace the old railroad warehouse sitting…
Industry

Inside the Mineral House

The Quincy Smelter’s mineral house was a vital component of the company’s move to minimize its labor overhead and streamline…
Industry

Bins and Briquettes

The minerals arriving to the Quincy Smelter were historically of two basic types – small to medium sized pieces referred…
Industry

Inside the Briquetting Plant

A typical briquetting plant is essentially a mixing and pressing operation, utilizing generally two primary ingredients: the material to be…
Industry

The Furnace Building

At the heart of any smelting operation is the furnace, where the actual work of melting and refining takes place.…
Industry

A Reverberatory Furnace

When it was first built in 1898 Quincy’s furnace building was home to a total of four reverberatory furnaces. The…
Industry

Smelter Tech: The Reverberatory Furnace

The copper that arrived to the smelter was anywhere from 70 to 90 percent pure. Due to the unique nature…
Industry

The Combo Furnace (p1)

When the Quincy Smelter was first built, its compliment of four reverberatory furnaces was more than adequate in meeting the…
Industry

The Combo Furnace (p2)

Unlike its predecessor to the west, the No.5 furnace building is a very plain and uninspired structure. Unlike the sandstone…
Industry

The Casting Plant (p1)

When the new No.3/No.5 combo furnace was installed at the Quincy Smelting Works, a large component of the new system…
Industry

The Casting Plant (p2)

The 1920’s era casting plant at the Quincy Smelting works was built primarily for one reason: to house the automating…
Industry

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…
Industry

The Warehouse

Once the molten copper has been poured into ingots and allowed to cool, the finished product is then sent via…
Industry

The Cupola Building (p1)

The slag that is removed from the reverberatory furnaces contains as much as 18 percent copper – too rich to…
Industry

The Cupola Building (p2)

A Cupola furnace – otherwise known as a blast furnace – takes a rather divergent approach to copper smelting as…
Industry

The Engine Room

In addition to the smelting and refining operations undertaken at the Quincy facility there were additional requirements its infrastructure had…
Industry

Smelter Tech: The Corliss Engine

While James Watt’s improvements to the steam engine may have been responsible for giving birth to the industrial revolution it…
Industry

The Boiler Complex (p1)

Every mine and mill in the copper country required power. In the early days that power was mechanically based, utilizing…
Industry

The Boiler Complex (p2)

For the last three years at CCE I’ve had the misfortune of coming across more than a few boiler ruins,…
Industry

The Support Buildings (p1)

As we exited the boiler complex we were leaving behind the last of the Quincy Smelter’s main production facilities. But…
Industry

The Support Buildings (p2)

Of all the various support buildings that litter the Quincy Smelting Works one particular model stands out over the rest.…
Industry

The Support Buildings (p3)

While most of the Quincy Smelters support buildings run along a line at the facility’s west end, a few others…
Industry

Tramways (p1)

The Quincy Smelting Works is a large and expansive complex, one that is not only home to furnace buildings and…
Industry

Tramways (p2)

The slag skimmed from the furnaces was not simply a waste product that could be disposed of right away. While…