Old Ore Mines Resume Operation

January 4, 1917

Mineral Deposits on Property of Ex-Senator Beasman Being Shipped Away

Once Profitable Industry Here

The Usual Demand For Iron Ore the Cause of Reopening — A Large Force of Workmen Employed by Operators — Railroad Company Makes Extensive Improvements to Handle the Business

After remaining idle for more than fifty years and the unusual demand for iron ore and other materials has caused the mines on Ex-Senator J. F. Beasman’s property to be again placed in operation, and for the past month mining has been going on a large scale.

Copper and iron ore were discovered on this property in the year 1850 and the minerals were mined profitably for about eleven years when the operations were given up. Up to the year 1868 the Tysons operated a furnace a short distance from the town, which gave employment to many. Since the year of the flood, which caused heavy damage to all property bordering on the Patapsco River, the furnace has passed out of existence.

A few months ago the property was leased by the Shawinigan Electric Products Company of Baltimore, and this concern has been shipping the minerals to their plant in Highlandtown, at the rate of two carloads a day, representing about 100,000 tons daily. The railroad has put in extensive sidings — building a platform from which the ore may be dumped from auto trucks directly into the car. The improvements cost $5,000. Over forty men are employed at the mines at present and the Company is taking on good men each day.

After reaching the Company’s plant in Highlandtown, which is just outside of Baltimore, the mineral is combined with silica from West Virginia. In the terrific hear of 2700 degrees of electric art the two fuse, uniting to form ferro-silicon. This marketed throughout the world, is used in various industries. It takes the oxygen bubbles out of steel, as well as increasing the tensile strength of the metal, and there are other commercial uses.

The Shawinigan Electric Products Company now have two of the biggest electric furnaces in the world and are about to install a third. Theirs is the only plant of its kind in or near Baltimore, and there is only one other such in the whole country.

It was not till the European war that the crying need for ferro-silicon became so great that efforts everthwewhere were started to meet the demand. Thus the Shawinigan Company came into being, fathered by Pennsylvania Water and Power Company and godsired by J. E. Aldred. Infant in point of age, it has Baltimore capital behind it, and in such respects is a giant.

Avoiding technicalities, the process of making ferro-silicon and the use of this after manufacture, is rather simple. The electric furnace consists of what is known as the arc type, two electrodes or poles. Across these terminals shoots an enormous current of 13,000 kilowatts of electrical energy, heating the electrodes to the 2700 degrees. The silica and iron ores, poured into the terrific heat, instantly fuse, combing to give what is known as 50 per cent ferro-silicon.

This product. which looks like silvery broken candy and is distinctly brittle, is shipped to steel mills here and abroad and used in various ways. Probably its chief value is treating iron. When the molten metal is poured into the ladles from the Bessemer converters, the ferro-silicon is added. The silicon only is of value; the iron — or ferro — part is merely to give it weight. The silicon combines with the oxygen to make silica, thereby taking out the blowholes of oxygen which would otherwise destroy the solidity of the steel. It also adds tensile strength to the steel.

One asks where the Company got its odd name of Shawinigan. Whereupon a tale hangs, with more than a bit of sentiment. When Mr. Aldred was an almost penniless man, fresh from a job in a bank, his eyes fell on Shawinigan Falls, in the province of Quebec, Canada. He saw more than the rush of the current. What he saw took him to the bank where, with more than a bit of business bluffing, he borrowed many thousand of dollar, with Shawinigan as security, organized as a company and today that concern is paying heavily. Incidentally it gave Aldred his first shove forward along the line of success, leading eventually to the great industries he has fostered, which include the Mccall’s Ferry plant, the Pennsylvania Water and Power Company, and the other big businesses which know his touch.


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