Thomas Selby and Philip Post were San Francisco metal dealers beginning in 1849, agents for Peter Naylor of New York City.
By 1854, the company was advertising as “Thomas H. Selby & Company, importers of metals.” Selby and Naylor’s company expanded
(1865) into the working of base metal ores and bullion and the manufacture of their products; there were branches in Marysville
and Stockton. The Selby shot tower was constructed in San Francisco in 1865. Construction of the San Francisco lead smelting
works at the foot of Hyde Street commenced November 1867. Selby was elected the City’s thirteenth mayor, and served 1869-1871.
Naylor, who had a half-interest in Selby & Co., died in 1872 in New York. Thomas's eldest son, Prentiss Selby managed the
Lead and Silver Smelting Works. Thomas H. Selby died June 9, 1875; the Selby Smelting and Lead Company was incorporated in
November 1875, with James C. Flood, William S. O'Brien, N. K. Masten, Prentiss Selby, and Andrew J. Ralston as directors.
This Company was considered the pre-eminent manufacturer of lead products in the western United States for the second half
of the 19th century.