Beginnings of Utah Copper
Published:January 01, 1952
Of 1903 with its momentous changes in his life, Penrose with his accustomed modesty wrote (in a sketch of his life, dated December 27,1928) that he “resigned as President of the Commonwealth Mining and Milling Company, and proceeded to Utah, where he| became one of the founders, together with his brother Spencer Penrose, D. C. Jackling and Charles M. Mac-Neill, of the Utah Copper Company, which has since become a very important organization.” Today, one of the great sights of the world is Bingham Canyon, Utah, where the great open-pit mines of the Utah Copper Company represent the largest individual movement of material of any kind made by man in world history. It is famous in mining history as the first great mine to prove that the theory, advanced by a young metallurgist named Daniel C. Jackling, for the utilization of low-grade copper ore was workable and eminently profitable. In 1903, however, Bingham was just another mining community near Salt Lake City, its fabulous future undreamed of, even by its promoters. To be sure, it was one of the oldest of the Utah mining districts, having been worked since 1864, but its early history centered upon its production of silicious gold ore and silver-bearing lead ores. Today, it is famous as the largest single producer of copper in the world, the first shipment of copper ore having been made from the Highland Boy mine in December, 1896.
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Life and Letters of R. A. F. Penrose, Jr.
When, in the summer of 1931, Richard Alexander Fullerton Penrose Jr., died in Philadelphia, he left his personally acquired fortune, amounting to approximately ten million dollars, to be divided equally between The Geological Society of America and the American Philosophical Society. As a memorial to its benefactor and as a picture of a period in the history of American geological science, this volume has been prepared by The Geological Society of America. Beginning with notebooks, diaries, and letters in the possession of the Society, and adding thereunto material slowly accumulated from his family, his friends, his associates, and acquaintances, the story of his life has been pieced together. For members of Penrose’s profession, the geologists, this account of his life should have particular interest, for it presents a picture of a period which is gone forever, a picture of conditions under which the early investigators in geology and the mineral industry labored and brought forth the principles and methods of later days, methods more scientific, perhaps, but, nevertheless, methods founded upon the efforts of those pioneers. If one is inclined to smile at the picture of the young man of the 1880’s sitting on a bluff above a Texas river, confronted with the problem of making a survey without knowing how to go about it, let him ask himself what he would have done, similarly unequipped and in hitherto unknown territory. Let the geologist of today, with his carefully prepared field equipment, ask himself just how well he would like to look forward to “living off the country”, as Penrose did in the early days in Arkansas. It speaks volumes for the stamina of any man to be able to confront uncomfortable conditions with the nonchalance which Penrose displayed. And how much more to his credit this is, when a man is endowed by birth, position, and economic security so that he need never have left the comforts of urban living in Philadelphia.