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Mining and Minerals Education Foundation

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ANDREW J. PRICHARD (1830 - 1902)

Explorer and Prospector

2018 Inductee from Mining’s Past

Andrew J. Prichard was born in Connecticut in 1830 and served in the Union Army. After the Civil War, he prospected his way through New Mexico, Colorado, Montana and on into Idaho. He was one of the early users of the reopened Mullan Road, which provided a way across the Bitterroot Mountains into Idaho. Here, he first worked as a logger.

In 1879, he and Samuel Thomas Irwin, another seasoned prospector, joined forces and prospected, sometimes as a team, other times separately. In 1883, Prichard announced the discovery of gold in the creeks and tributaries of the Coeur d’Alene River.  This discovery came at a most opportune time for the Northern Pacific Railroad, who seized upon the discovery to stimulate ticket sales on the newly built railroad which was within 25 miles of the discovery.

In addition to working placers along the creeks, Prichard also has the distinction of locating the oldest lode claim in the Coeur d’Alene region, the “Evolution”, staked and recorded in 1882. People who came found better prospects in veins carrying substantial silver and lead values than in the spotty placer deposits. This led to the development of the mighty Coeur d’Alene mining district. Prichard died in Murray, Idaho in October, 1902.

Medora Hooper Krieger (1905 – 1994)

Pioneering Geologist

2018 Inductee from Mining’s Past

Medora Hooper was born in 1905 in Ticonderoga, N.Y.  She earned her bachelor's degree in geology from Vassar College in 1928, then attended Columbia University for her master's and PhD degrees. There, she met her future husband, Philip Krieger, who had completed his PhD in geology and was an assistant Professor of Geology. They were married in 1931. She worked for the New York Geological Survey until 1939. Following the death of her husband in 1940, she taught at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts from 1942-1944.

Krieger joined the USGS in 1944.  At that time the Survey did not allow women to work in the field, thinking the work was too hard and rough for a woman. In 1947, the Survey began to send its workers to various field locations. She became one of the first female Field Geologist when she was sent to the Southwestern Geology branch in Prescott, AZ.  

The Survey was studying copper deposits. Her original assignment was to map around Bagdad, but not in the mine itself because the miners objected to women.  She did what was considered a man's job in a man’s world. She was an inspiration to other women geologists of her time.

By 1952, only 2 percent of the geoscience workforce in the USGS was female and even fewer were field geologists.  Krieger became one of the most prolific USGS geologic mappers.  She is known for her 35 years working in the State in Arizona, where she mapped a total of 21 topographic quadrangles.

Medora Krieger died at age 89 in 1994 in Prescott.


WILLIAM PEIRCE (1865 - 1944) AND E.A. CAPPELEN SMITH (1873 – 1949)

Metallurgical Innovators

2018 Inductees from Mining’s Past

Cappelen Smith was born in 1873 in Norway. He grew up as the eldest son among nine children. He was educated as a chemist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. He immigrated to the United States in 1893.

Born in 1865, William H. Peirce was an American civil engineer and metallurgist. Pierce Graduated from Stevens Institute in 1884, just before he was nineteen, and finishing in one year the requirements of his Junior and Senior years.

Pierce joined the Baltimore Copper Smelting & Rolling Company in 1890, becoming vice president in 1895 and later, president of the company.  Cappelen Smith was employed as head metallurgist for the company from 1901–10.

At that time, the Manhès-David process was primarily used for copper-converting.  It had been directly derived from the Bessemer process used in the steel industry.  The basic slag produced during the blowing combined with the acid silica refractory lining, thereby causing a very short lifetime of the lining.

Mr. Smith suggested basic converting for the treatment of copper matte in the belief that the converting to blister could be conducted in one vessel with the production of metal and an exceptionally clean slag and substantially increasing the life of the refractory lining.

In 1908, the first experiment was made in a basic lined 25-ton reverberatory furnace with blow pipes through the side walls and roof. All was very crude, but the indications of success led to the design of the Peirce-Smith converter. The process allowed an increase from 10 to 2500 tons of copper produced without relining the converters.

The Peirce-Smith converter quickly replaced the Manhès–David converter. The process has been significantly improved over the years and Peirce-Smith converters refine 90% of the copper matte produced in the world today.

Robert B. Scanlan (1936-1972)

Hoistman and Hero

2018 Inductee from Mining’s Past

Robert Scanlan was born and grew up in the southern Idaho farming town of Gooding. In 1955, he moved to Wallace. There, he married his wife Eva in 1956. They had three children. He advanced his career at the Sunshine Mine from mucker to miner to hoistman.

The Sunshine Mine is deep, and essentially is a mine within a mine. Access from the surface was through the Jewell Shaft, which extended from the surface to the 3700 foot level. Approximately one mile from the Jewell shaft was the #10 shaft, which ran from the 3100 level to the deepest working level, at the time 5600. Most of the mine’s production came from areas served by the #10 shaft.

Principal escape ways were the 3700 level and the 3100 level, both connecting with the Jewell shaft. There was also an escape way on 3100, which connected to the Silver Summit mine. Because of the importance of the #10 shaft in evacuating the mine, two hoistmen were in attendance, in the unlikely event of something incapacitating the operator.

On May 2, 1972, a crew of 178 was working underground. Operations continued normally until about noon, when fire was reported. Smoke soon appeared in the hoist room. Self-rescuers were donned, but smoke began to overpower the hoistmen. Ira Silger, the senior hoistman, had respiratory problems. Bob Scanlan told him to leave and he would continue to operate the hoist. Silger escaped the mine. Bob Scanlan heroically gave his life in attempting to hoist the crew to safety.



P. O. Box 42317

Tucson, Arizona  85733

Phone - (520) 577-7519


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