Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Industrial Archaeology (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Social Sciences

Advisor 1

Patrick Martin

Committee Member 1

Carl Blair

Committee Member 2

Seth DePasqual

Abstract

The lodes of native copper found in the Lake Superior region presented new opportunities for investors and miners alike. Making these opportunities pay required the unique challenges presented by the region’s remoteness and unique geological formations to be overcome. A primary way in which these newly emerging companies overcame these challenges was through successful vertical integration of the copper refining industries. Smelting came to the region early, but met with little success as the workers first needed to retool their skills and experiences to the demands of the region’s mineral deposits. In 1848 the Isle Royale and Ohio Mining Company commenced their short-lived copper furnace operation near the settlement of Ransom on Isle Royale. The archaeology and history of this furnace provides insights on a newly emerging industry, technological adaptation, and social and labor relations within this remote but rapidly emerging industrial frontier.

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