Friday, November 1, 2013

The Copper Handbook - a manual of the copper mining industry of the world

The Copper Handbook, by Horace Stevens
image by Boone Shares
Following is a list of the elements with which copper is found chemically united in nature. This list includes 29 of the 77 elements known to science at this writing. Following the name of each element is its chemical symbol and atomic weight, as now figured by the best authorities : 

Aluminium Al 27.1
Antimony Sb 120
Arsenic As 75
Bismuth Bi 208.3
Calcium Ca 40.1
Carbon C 12
Chlorine Cl 35.45
Cobalt Co 59
Copper Cu 63.6
Hydrogen H 1.01
Iron Fe 56
Lead Pl 206.9
Manganese Mn 55
Nickel Ni 58.7
Niobium Nb 93.7
Nitrogen N 14.04
Oxigen O 16
Phosphorus P 31
Platinum Pt 195
Selenium Se 79.2
Silicon Si 28.4
Silver Ag 107.93
Sulphur S 32.06
Tellurium Te 127.5
Tin Sn 119
Tungsten W 184
Uranium U 240
Vanadium V 51.4
Zinc Zn 65.4

Excerpt from The Copper Handbook 1903, Vol. III for the year 1902, page 27

More than 2000 copper mines in all parts of the world
Scripophily auctioneers and a few blessed collectors use the book for researching companies. The 1903 issue contains 2207 company profiles. Most of the mines included are located in the USA, others are active in the following countries: Argentina, Austria, Australia, Algeria, Bolivia, Canada, Chili, Cuba, France, India, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Rhodesia, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK and much more, even Sudan and New Caledonia. Many company descriptions span tens of lines, sometimes several pages. As an example, I included the profile of the Parrot Silver and Copper Company:

share certificate of the Parrot Silver and Copper Company
Parrot Silver and Copper Company
shares of 10 Dollars, issued in 1904, Butte, Montana
printed by Western Banknote Company, Chicago
In the Copper Handbook Vol. III the company
was ranked 25th in the list of largest copper producers.
double-click image to enlarge

Mine office: Butte, Silver Bow Co., Montana. Harry A. Galway, superintendent. Has a stock issue of 230,000 shares, bulk of which is held by the Amalgamated Copper Co. This company is mixed up to some extent in the litigation that is so unpleasant a feature of mining operations in Butte. Principal mines are the Little Minah and Parrot, opened circa 1884. Company holds 19 claims in all, mostly well located. A barren zone occurs at a depth of about 1,000' , but good ore bodies are found below. Production is at the rate of about 12,000,000 pounds yearly. The ores carry fair values in silver and gold, as well as copper. Mine employs 300 to 400 men, when working full force. The Little Minah mine has a 1,000' two-compartment shaft connected underground with the Nipper. The Parrot mine is about 1,700' deep, main shaft having 3 compartments to 400' level and 4 compartments below, connected underground with Colusa-Parrot, Never Sweat, Nipper and Original mines.

detail from share certificate depicting parrot and ingot
detail from the Parrot Silver and Copper Company's stock certificate
vignette of a brainy parrot claiming his ingot (I want a parrot like that)

This book is encyclopedic
Do you know the meaning of following terms or expressions? Watch out! I can not pronounce some of these words I. Don't hurt yourself in the act.
  • pertenencia: one mineral claim in Mexico; area, one hectare or 2,471 acres
  • cutting down: when a shaft is enlarged, work begins at the top, and the work of enlargement is called cutting down
  • dognacskaite: a sulphide of bismuth and copper; carrying about 12% copper; from Hungary
  • pinching out: the narrowing of a vein to extinction

When was the first copper shipment from the Australian continent ? Answer: 1843
What was the world's largest mine in the early 1900s ? Answer: The Anaconda Copper Mining Company, Butte, Montana, producing more than 100,000,000 Pounds in 1901.

Besides the chapter containing the company profiles, other chapters introduce you to the world of copper mining at the very beginning of the 20th century :

  • Chapter I - History of Copper
  • Chapter II - Geology of Copper
  • Chapter III - Chemistry and Mineralogy of Copper
  • Chapter IV - Metallurgy of Copper
  • Chapter V - The Uses of Copper
  • Chapter VI - Glossary of  Mining Terms
  • Chapter VII - Copper Deposits of the United States
  • Chapter VIII - Copper Deposits of Canada and Newfoundland
  • Chapter IX - Copper Deposits of Mexico, Central America and the Antilles
  • Chapter X - Copper Deposits of South America
  • Chapter XI - Copper Deposits of Europe
  • Chapter XII - Copper Deposits of Africa
  • Chapter XIII - Copper Deposits of Asia
  • Chapter XIV - Copper Deposits of Australia and Oceania
  • Chapter XV - Copper Mines of the World
  • Chapter XVI - Statistics of Copper
  • Index (on topics), Index of Advertisers, Classified Buyers' Index
Michigan Central advertisement
'The Route to The Copper Country
The Favourite Summer Tourist Route'
from The Copper Handbook, Vol. III

Horace J. Stevens, a forerunner of the modern information economy, launches The Copper Handbook
Horace Jared Stevens was born in Conewango, state of New York in 1866. With experience in varied work in the iron mines and interested in the mining industry, he became a reporter for the Marquette Mining Journal. In 1891 he became the editor of the Daily Press, a newspaper at Ishpeming, Michigan. When organizing the Peninsula News Bureau he saw the need for an authoritative annual on copper mining. 

In 1901 Stevens published the first volume covering Michigan mines in 300 pages. The second edition, issued in 1901, treated all principal American mines. As of the third volume, copper mines from all over the world were discussed in 600 pages. The book was sold for $5 in buckram and $7.50 in morocco leather. Back in 1903, when a pair of women's shoes costed about $1, this was a considerable sum of money. Stevens also provided information and custom reports to anyone who wanted the latest information on finances, organization, equipment, development, ores, management and prospects of copper mining companies. He charged a "small" fee of $5 (1903) for answering an ordinary inquiry. Where the inquiries involved extended investigation or personal inspection of mines, in the US, Canada or Mexico, the price was made according to the time and expenses required.

Horace J. Stevens, publisher of The Copper Handbook
Horace J. Stevens
The Copper Handbook - Vol. XI 1912-1913

His last book, Vol. X, issued in 1911, became a work of almost 2000 pages. A year later, Horace J. Stevens died of a heart attack. His life work was continued in 1914 after The Copper Handbook was acquired by the new editor Walter Harvey Weed, who published Volume XI, 1912-1913 in that same year. Further volumes would follow.

These antiquarian books can be found online
The original books are rarely offered on auctions and fetch prices between $100 and $200 depending on the volume and the condition. Absolutely desirable for the advanced researcher and collector of objects from the early copper mining industry. 

Some of the books have been put online by the Hathi Trust Digital Library see here . 
A handful of these can be downloaded as PDF files from the Horace J. Stevens page on the Internet Archive. These are the steps of the download procedure :

  1. From here, click one of the links,  let me use The Copper Handbook (Volume 10) as an example , which brings you on a page like this.
  2. At the left, click the link All Files Https, which brings you here .
  3. Once there, you lookup the link for the PDF file, which gets you there .
Repeat the procedure for the other versions. Good luck with the downloads !


  • The Copper Handbook - Vol. III 1902, Horace J. Stevens, published 1903
  • The Copper Handbook - Vol. XI 1912-1913, Walter Harvey weed, published 1913

Reference links

1 comment:

  1. Franky, thank you.I will forward the books to EDHAC-Bibliographie ...