San Francisco: B.J. Burns, Agent (Office of the Stetefeldt Furnace), 1871. First Edition. 12mo. 16 pp. with 3 wood-engraved illustrations. Original tan wrappers, stitched as issued. Vertical crease in center, wrappers lightly dust-soiled, overall very good. PROVENANCE: pencil inscription on front wrapper: "Comp[liments] of C.S. Drew, to Lieut. Wheeler" (and Wheeler's name-stamp in ink). Duplicate of the U.S. Geological Survey Library (Wheeler's employer!) with 1891 stamp on front wrapper and page 1. A remarkable association. Very good. Item #3433
Rare and extremely early promotional pamphlet which describes and illustrates the newly invented Stetefeldt Furnace, a "metallurgical milestone" which came to dominate the mining camps in the American West, and which was of great importance in the economic development to the entire region, particularly Nevada. Of this work only one other copy has been located. The provenance of our copy is significant. It was the gift of CHARLES S. DREW to GEORGE WHEELER, both great American explorers.
Drew (1825-1886) led an Army reconnaissance party into southeastern Oregon in 1864. The expedition, known as the Owyhee Reconnaissance, traveled through uncharted country from Fort Klamath to Fort Boise and back. Drew was the author of two historically important military reports; one documented Indian attacks on American settlers in the Oregon Territory and the other was his report of the Owyhee Reconnaissance. After leaving the army he began investing in gold and silver mines in Oregon and Nevada. He was one of the incorporators of a gold and silver mining company in Elko County, Nevada, which had a Stetefeldt Furnace. The present pamphlet is his gift to:
George Wheeler (1842-1905), a pioneering American explorer and cartographer. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. With Hayden, he was easily the most important surveyor of the American West. In 1869 Gen. Edward Ord sent him on a reconnoissance through eastern Nevada, as far as the head of navigation on the Colorado. In 1871, the year that the present pamphlet was published, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sent Wheeler to explore and map the area south of the Central Pacific Railroad in eastern Nevada and Arizona. The Wheeler Survey lasted until 1879, when the work was reorganized as the U.S. Geological Survey.
THE STETEFELDT FURNACE: In Austin, Nevade, the Manhattan Silver Mining Company began a massive consolidation of mines. As they mined deeper ores, they encountered fresh silver sulfide minerals, which were difficult to reduce. This firm created a new ore reduction process through a new type of furnace known as the Stetefeldt furnace, which allowed a number of mines to economically process high grade silver ores.
Invented by Carl Stetefeldt (1838-1896), of Germany, the Stetefeldt roasting furnace was a shaft furnace which desulfurizes and chloridized silver ore in a very short amount of time, as compared to cylinder or reverberatory furnaces which take much longer to achieve the same effect. Thus the users of the Stetefeldt furnace saves not only time, but the cost of charcoal to run the furnace.
RARE. FirstSearch locates only a single copy worldwide (at UC Berkeley). Our edition is not to be confused with a later pamphlet bearing the same title (San Francisco: Edward Bosqui & Co., 1878).
Rocq, California Local History no. 8475. Not in Paher, Nevada Ghost Towns & Mining Camps.