Items of special interest
Title: Frederick Roeser Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1880-1919,
Date (bulk): bulk 1911-1919
Extent: 94 pieces
The Huntington Library
San Marino, California 91108
In Library (Mrs. Frederick Roeser)
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[Identification of item], Frederick Roeser Collection, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
On April 4, 1899, the American Smelting and Refining Company was chartered in the state of New Jersey. This great industrial
combine, usually known as ASARCO and frequently referred to as the smelting trust, had consolidated a number of American smelting
concerns with production plants east and west of the Mississippi. At its inception, ASARCO controlled 2/3 of America's smelting
and refining capacity, although several major firms remained independent of its ownership. Two years later, a second merger
took place which brought M. Guggenheim's Sons into the company, absorbing a principal competitor. In turn, Meyer Guggenheim's
sons took control of ASARCO after the merger and directed the company's continued expansion. ASARCO's plants dominated much
of the Rocky Mountain smelting industry in the early twentieth century, although the severe decline in silver, lead and copper
prices which followed the Panic of 1907 and persisted until American entry into World War I forced it to curtail many operations.
The career of Frederick Roeser (fl. 1888-1919) was closely connected to these developments in the American smelting industry.
This collection reveals little about Roeser himself; perhaps either a metallurgist or chemist, he served at different times
as superintendent of ASARCO's Arkansas Valley and Globe smelting plants in Colorado (the latter near the city of Denver).
During the 1890's, he may have lived in Revelstoke, British Columbia; he certainly invested in British Columbian land and
mining stock during that decade. The bulk of the collection (and certainly the most valuable portion), however, consists of
the various scientific, engineering and administrative reports circulated among ASARCO officials which he must have accumulated
while superintending company smelters. The reports, which span a period from 1911 to 1919, discuss various technical procedures
for reducing different metals, ASARCO efforts to improve the efficiency of their metallurgical processes, proper design and
construction of metallurgical plants and the wages and productivity of employees at ASARCO plants. The reports illustrate
developments in the fields of metallurgy, metals refining and industrial design being pursued by one of the most important
members of the industry.
Metallurgy, metallurgical plant construction and design, mining engineering
Items of special interest
Reports on the metallurgy of arsenic and arsenic poisoning, 1917-1919, Box 1(1), review of inspection trip to ASARCO smelting
plants in February 1916, Box 1(3), report on labor productivity at various ASARCO plants for the period 1908 to 1917, Box
1(6), reports on the design and construction of metallurgical plants between 1916 and 1919, Box 1(8), report on the wages
at the Globe (Colorado) plant between 1915 and 1917, Box 1(16).
All items are housed in a single box. The various technical reports are gathered together by subject in separate folders,
organized alphabetically. Reports are followed by folders which contain a few pieces of Roeser's personal correspondence,
business papers and ephemera, in that order. Last are five notebooks, filled with technical data about mining machinery, engineering,
metallurgy and geology. The notebooks are numbered in chronological order.
- 75 photographs of a trip to Africa and the Middle East have been transferred to the Photo Archive, where they are stored in
Fell, James E.,
Ores to Metals: The Rocky Mountain Smelting Industry (Lincoln, Neb.: 1979)