Archives West Finding Aid
Table of Contents
- Overview of the Collection
- Content Description
- Administrative Information
- Detailed Description of the Collection
- Names and Subjects
Pennsylvania Smelting Company Records, 1899-1943
Overview of the Collection
- Pennsylvania Smelting Company
- Pennsylvania Smelting Company Records
- 1899-1943 (inclusive)18991943
- 3 cubic feet
- Collection Number
- MG294 (collection)
- Minutes of meetings, financial statements, correspondence with smelter personnel, a stock ledger, lists of stockholders, financial statements, balance sheets, check registers, and tax returns of a lead refinery and smelter located near Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
University of Idaho Library, Special Collections and Archives
Special Collections and Archives
University of Idaho Library
875 Perimeter Drive
- Funds for processing were provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Historical NoteReturn to Top
The Pennsylvania Smelting Company, with George Faunce as president, was incorporated in Pennsylvania on June 5, 1899. Its plant occupied a 3,832 acre site near Carnegie formerly owned by the Pennsylvania Lead Company. At the time of its incorporation its capitalization was $25,000 divided into 250 shares of the par value of $100. In December 1899 the capital stock was increased to $45,000, and in 1917 it was again increased, this time to $2,000,000. According to the by-laws the corporation was formed "for the purpose of the manufacture of iron and steel or any other metal or of any article of commerce from metal or wood or both."
The only business conducted at shareholder meetings between 1900 and 1915 was the election of board members. During this same period the board met regularly to declare dividends on the capital stock.
In 1915 the Hercules and Tamarack & Custer mines loaned the Pennsylvania Smelting Company $75,000 for construction of their plant. George Faunce was appointed General Manager and John E. Williams Sales Manager, each at a salary of $10,000 per year. The records of the May 8, 1916 shareholders meeting reveal the Days to be the major shareholders. Harry L., Eugene, and Jerome each held one share, but Eugene was trustee for the shares held by the Hercules, and Jerome was trustee for the Tamarack & Custer shares. At this meeting the three Day brothers were elected to the board along with George Faunce and John E. Williams.
The construction work at the plant included building a 100'x160' steel and concrete building for all processing procedures, and extending by 185 feet the railroad siding, also replacing steam power with electricity. The total cost of construction to January 1, 1917 was $79,533.57.
In 1916 the plant treated 32,725 tons of ore and bullion, much of the bullion was from the Day-owned Northport Smelting & Refining Company in Northport, Washington; it shipped 26,925 tons of lead, 2,505,000 ounces of silver, and 4,275 ounces of gold. The following year was one of the worst for the smelter as, due to the war and government priority on freight cars, it was almost impossible to get material to the plant. But, because of the war, there was an increased need for lead and between July 1917 and November 1918, the smelter supplied 14,847 tons of lead to the government. Total production in 1918 was up 30.5% over 1916: 42,941 tons of ore and bullion treated, 40,850 tons of lead, 3,040,629 ounces of silver and 4,871 ounces of gold were produced. Wages were increased four times, amounting to a total of $1.20 per day, and $15,000 was spent on plant improvements.
Lead prices fell at the end of 1918, and a strike in the Coeur d' Alenes cut off the supply of bullion. As a result operations in the plant in 1919 were reduced by 50%, but during the latter part of the year the company began smelting cobalt-silver ores. The average pay was $4.31 per day compared with $3.95 in 1918. Production was up by 45% in 1920, but 1921 shipments were less than half the previous year's and, due to a fall in metal prices, the company sustained a loss of $251,000.
In order to reduce its capitalization the company, in 1923, called in one-half of the outstanding capital stock owned by each shareholder. Plans for changes and alterations to the plant were made, and between 1924 and 1925, over $29,000 was spent on construction, and more construction was planned for 1926. By October 1926 the physical and financial conditions of the plant were "unsatisfactory." The Days guaranteed a $50,000 loan to the company from the Wallace Bank and Trust, and the smelter management was told not to purchase any raw material not already under contract. $500,000 in preferred stock was created from unissued stock in the corporation, of which $380,000 was used to pay off the Hercules and Tamarack and Custer debts. The company then borrowed $100,000 from the Bank of Pittsburgh and immediately repaid the Wallace bank.
The Pennsylvania Smelting Company had been unprofitable for a number of years owing to its inability to secure a sufficient volume of smelting material, business unsettledness, market fluctuations, and especially the intense competition. Its 1926 deficit was almost $95,000. The Western directors, A.P. Ramstedt, Jerome and Harry L. Day, after a meeting on May 11, 1927, ordered the plant to suspend operations, clean up the property, and arrange for a sub-lease of the Pittsburgh Office. By July 15 the plant had totally ceased operation.
The board, in 1940, now consisting of Jerome Day, Harry Day, Henry Day, and Paul B. Jessup, authorized J.C. Bigham, who had been managing the property in Carnegie, to do the salvage work at the plant and to sell off all equipment and supplies. In 1941 an option was granted to J.H. Hillman and Robert M. Moore for purchase of the property at Carnegie for $75,000 paid over 3 years: the actual price paid by Hillman & Moore was $67,500, a discount of 10% being allowed for cash payment. The new owners planned to erect a factory to produce specialized war materials.
The shareholders met at the William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh on April 20, 1942, to approve, by a vote of 1933 to 315, the dissolution of the company. The records which were in the care of J.C. Bigham in Carnegie were sent to Wallace in March 1943.
Content DescriptionReturn to Top
The records of the Pennsylvania Smelting Company span the years 1899 to 1943, with the bulk of the material covering the years 1916 to 1929. Included are minutes of meetings, financial statements, correspondence with smelter personnel, a stock ledger lists of stockholders, financial statements and balance sheets, check registers, and tax returns.
Administrative InformationReturn to Top
The records of the Pennsylvania Smelting Company are divided into four series.
The first series, Records of the Board of Directors and the Stockholders, includes only the minutes of meetings held between 1899 and 1940. The minutes from 1917 on were in a minute book which was divided by meeting type: Stockholders or Directors. Although the minutes were removed from the volume the distinction between the meetings was retained.
General Correspondence and Related Records, the second series, is divided into three subseries: files maintained by Jerome J. Day, 1916-1929, those maintained by Henry L. Day, 1925-1943, and a group of miscellaneous correspondence and plant records. The Jerome Day files contain general correspondence related to smelter operation including his expense accounts for visits to the smelter, a railroad map of Chicago's outer belt line, and financial statements. Letters from E.H. Laws (folder 18) give details of the plant construction.
Henry Day's files are a continuation of Jerome's files and contain extensive correspondence with both J.C. Bigham and George Faunce about the operations of the smelter. The third subseries contains correspondence with smelter officers and government committees, blueprints for equipment, and government lead allotments.
The third series is Capital Stock Records. The only item in this series is a stock ledger covering the years 1899-1826.
Financial Records, the final series, contains check registers, monthly balance sheets, state and federal tax returns and unemployment compensation returns.
Removal of cancelled stock certificates, paid checks, bank statements, and duplicate materials reduced the size of this collection by two cubic feet.
Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top
Series I. Records of the Board of Directors and the Stockholders, 1899-1940Return to Top
Minutes: Stockholders meetings
Minutes: Directors meetings
Series II. General Correspondence and Related Records, 1915-1943Return to Top
A. Jerome J. Day Files
A; Application for position
D; Day, Harry L.
E-F; Federal Trade Commission
Income tax (Correspondence)
International Lead & Refining Co.
Lead sales, Government
Lead sales, General
Miller, H.H. Correspondence
N; Northport Smelting & Refining Co.; P.
Pennsylvania Smelting Co., General
Pennsylvania Smelting Co., Minutes
Quotations (report of operations)
R; Refining in transit rates
Reports on mill operation
S; Sales & inquires
Sale of property leads; Silver price
B. Henry L. Day Files
A; American Metals Co.; B
Bigham, J.C., correspondence
Dwight & LLoyd Sintering Co.
Franklin Smeltering & Refining
Lessees; McKallip & Co.
Meetings: Stockholders and Directors
Mercantile Metals, Inc.
Mellon National Bank; Metal Merchants, Inc.; New Jersey Zinc Co.
P; Pittsburgh, Bank of
Pennsylvania, Commonwealth of
Sintering plant sale
T; Capital Stock tax; U; W
C. Other Files
Correspondence: Preliminary negotiations
Correspondence: George E. Faunce, President
Correspondence: E.H. Laws
Correspondence: H.H. Miller, auditor
Correspondence: John E. Williams, secretary-treasurer
Correspondence: Lead Producers Committee
Correspondence: War Industries Board
Coded telegrams reporting on plant operations
Gladstone Mountain Manufacturing Co.
Minutes, by-laws, agreements, etc.
Bin and conveyor layout
Government lead allotments
Series III. Capital Stock Records, 1899-1926Return to Top
Series IV. Financial Records, 1923-1943Return to Top
Monthly balance sheets
Balance sheets and working papers
Federal income tax returns
State income tax returns
Unemployment compensation returns
Names and SubjectsReturn to Top
- Metallurgical plants -- Records -- Pennsylvania -- Carnegie
- Smelting furnaces -- Pennsylvania -- Carnegie -- History -- Sources
- Pennsylvania Smelting Company