Idaho Metals Company Gold Bond - 1926

Idaho Metals Company Gold Bond - 1926

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Idaho Metals Company Gold Bond - 1926
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Beautifully engraved Certificate from the Idaho Metals Company issued in 1926. This historic document has an ornate border around it with the company's name in fancy print. This item is hand signed by the company's president, L.R. Eccles and secretary and is over 74 years old. The property of the Empire Copper Company, the largest producer of copper in the state of Idaho, is located on a steep mountain side 3 1/2 miles southwest of the city of Mackay in Custer County. At the height of its production it consisted of 38 mining claims, a smelter capable of handling over 500 tons of ore daily, and a 7 3/4 mile Shay railroad connecting the mines and smelter. The mine, which was opened about 1884 and worked at various times, was originally organized under the laws of West Virginia as White Knob Mining Co. It was reorganized as White Knob Copper Company on April 24, 1900, under the laws of New Jersey by San Francisco millionaire John W. Mackay and engineer Wayne Darlington, who became president and general manager of the company respectively. They were responsible for a great deal of development work, the construction of a large smelter, and an electric railroad. In 1901 E.J. Mathews succeeded Mackay as president, and in 1902 he was succeeded by Henry J. Luce. Wayne Darlington and his staff resigned in the spring of 1902 after a dispute with Luce and Darlington was replaced by S.F. Boyd, who in turn was replaced by Percy L. Fearn. In October 1904, after seven different managers had tried unsuccessfully to operate the property at a profit, the company was placed in the hands of a receiver. It was purchased by George W. Young of New York on March 18, 1905, for $1 million. He immediately transferred the property to a New York consortium which, in February 1905, had organized the White Knob Copper and Development Company. William H. Brevoort of New York was brought in as managing director and he requested Frank M. Leland, who was manager of the mining machinery department at the Risdon Iron Works in San Francisco and who also had a reputation of being a practical mining man, to assume the position of general manager. Leland arrived in Mackay in June with instructions to dismantle the plant and wind up the affairs of the company. While looking around the property he found several thousand tons of low grade copper ore which he thought could be successfully smelted. He began selling off surplus machinery, some property the company owned in Mackay, and arranged for leasers to do the mining. In late June he started the smelter and eventually shipped twenty five car loads of high-grade gold and silver bearing copper matte before shutting down the smelter in the late fall. After convincing the owners that the mine could be operated at a profit he began ordering new machinery and also replaced the expensive electric railroad with a Shay locomotive. On October 17, 1905, Ravenel Macbeth leased the entire White Knob property and in 1906 and 1907 the mine was known as Macbeth Lease. Organized under the laws of Maine on May 29, 1907, the Empire Copper Company, Ramsey S. Bogy principal financier, purchased the property of the Macbeth Lease and the White Knob Copper and Development Company for one million dollars. Frank Leland was named president and general manager of the new company, and the New York firm of Hobbs and Seeley was engaged to act as brokers for the Empire's stock. But in October the price of copper fell so low that Leland was forced to shut down the mine and Hobbs and Seeley offered to repurchase the stock it had sold. The mine remained idle in 1908 and 1909; the only ore shipped was that taken out on assessment work. During this time Leland left Mackay for California where he salvaged the Balaklala mine, another mine owned by William Brevoort, and also purchased a mine of his own in French Gulch, California. Acting manager at the Empire, John J. Fitzpatrick, kept Leland informed of conditions in Mackay while Leland traveled extensively in California and Nevada. In December 1909 Leland resigned as general manager of the Empire Copper Company, but remained as its president and was always available for consultation with the new general manager Ralph Osborn, who had been working with Leland in Mackay since 1905. In 1910 and 1911 the mine was again operated on the leasing system. In 1912, after serving two years as general manager of the Waldo Consolidated Gold Mining Company in Josephine County, Oregon, Leland rejoined the Empire as general manager. The mine began shipping its ore to the Garfield, Utah, smelter where John J. Fitzpatrick kept an eye on the weighing and sampling, and sent frequent reports back to Mackay. Copper prices remained high, and in June 1913 the Empire Copper Company declared its first dividend. In June 1915 a wealthy Ogden business man, L.R. Eccles , and his associates purchased the Empire Copper Company, but made no immediate changes in the management; they also continued the leasing system. The year 1915 was also the most prosperous one for the mine, June shipments broke all previous records. In mid 1916 the management of the Empire changed. L.R. Eccles replaced Leland as president and Joseph Eccles replaced Ralph Osborn as vice-president. By the end of the year both Leland and Osborn had resigned from the company. Frank M. Leland, who spent ten years developing the mine from a failure into the largest, most successful copper mine in Idaho, was the only long term manager the mine had. After he left the company they again had a succession of short term managers. A three mile aerial tramway to replace the 7 1/2 mile Shay railroad was constructed in 1917 and 1918 at a cost of $125,000. Labor problems caused a reduction in ore output, and by 1919 the mine was operating exclusively on the leasing system. In April 1920 the bookkeeper was arrested for embezzlement, and in January 1921 the general manager, Morton Webber, was apprehended on the same charge. With these financial losses, coupled with the low price of copper, the Empire was unable to pay its bills. In July 1921


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