Entries in Metals, Mining, and Resource Extraction

Bechtler, Christopher
Jeweler, watchmaker, and gunsmith, Christopher Bechtler founded the most successful private mint in the eastern United States. During its peak production from 1831 to 1840, Bechtler’s North Carolina mint rivaled the output of the federal mints and was a significant stimulus to the economy of the state. Continue Reading »
Bolter, Andrew
Andrew Bolter started A. Bolter Co. in 1856 and became one of Chicago’s leading iron founders. After rebuilding his business following the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, Bolter garnered attention for the artistic steel designs produced by his renamed Illinois Iron Works while also gathering one of the country’s largest and most complete collections of exotic and North American insects. Continue Reading »
Carus, Mary Hegeler
Born on the grounds of her father’s zinc factory, Mary Hegeler Carus took the unusual step for a woman of her time period in pursuing a college career and going on to advanced study in engineering. She then took on the responsibility of running her family’s business, the Matthiessen and Hegeler Zinc Company, resisting the efforts of her siblings to sell the company to outsiders. Continue Reading »
Gebelein, George
A first-generation immigrant, George Gebelein earned acclaim for the superb quality of his handcrafted silver products, finding success as a craftsman in an era when mass-produced goods had replaced handcrafted products. Continue Reading »
German Immigrants and J. P. Morgan’s Securities Underwriting Syndicates
The Immigrant Entrepreneurship project offers a transnational perspective on American history. Transaction records from the J. P. Morgan & Co. Syndicate Books help us understand how a transnational society of bankers networked funds around the world by forming syndicates to support the globalization process. Syndicate participation provided a way for many German immigrants and German-Americans to attain both economic success and social status in America. Continue Reading »
Grohmann, Eckhart
Eckhart Grohmann does not fit the all-too-familiar narrative of the old world European immigrant peasant turned captain of industry that permeates much of the American popular memory. Grohmann was already a member of the entrepreneurial class in Germany. After immigrating to the United States, he acquired his own company, Aluminum Casting and Engineering Co., a small Milwaukee foundry that he expanded into a major firm. Continue Reading »
Hasenclever, Peter
Peter Hasenclever was a German-born international businessman active from approximately 1733 until 1792. From 1764 to 1770, he resided in the British colonies of New York and New Jersey, where he established an ultimately unsuccessful transatlantic enterprise to produce, transport, and market iron and steel. Continue Reading »
Heckscher, Charles August
Charles August Heckscher hailed from an influential, well-to-do, and sophisticated Jewish family of merchant-bankers in Altona and the nearby, independent city-state of Hamburg. In 1829 he emigrated from Hamburg to the United States to become a successful merchant and entrepreneur. He acquired wealth by opening a trading house in New York City and later used his personal capital to invest in anthracite coal mining and transportation operations in eastern Pennsylvania. By the time of his death shortly after the end of the Civil War, he was one of the leading colliery operators in the nation. Continue Reading »
Jesselson, Ludwig
In the decades after 1945, Philipp Brothers grew to become the largest and most important metal trading company in the world. By the late 1970s, the company had become an international giant, dealing in over one hundred and fifty different industrial raw materials with representatives in virtually every country in the world possessing metals or minerals of commercial quality. During most of this period, Ludwig Jesselson, who had come to New York in 1937 to work for Philipp Brothers, was at the helm of the company. Jesselson led the company from a sizable private company to an international giant, in the process contributing to changing the markets for international commodities. Continue Reading »
Lewisohn, Adolph
Adolph Lewisohn was a Hamburg-born German-American businessman who, together with his brother Leonard, once led one of the most important and profitable copper companies in the United States Continue Reading »
Loeb, Carl Morris
Despite not belonging to one of the elite New York Jewish banking families, Carl Morris Loeb became president of American Metal Company and later established his own investment firm Carl M. Loeb & Co. Continue Reading »
Rapp, Johann Georg
In 1803, George Rapp left his native Württemberg for the United States of America in search of the Promised Land. Between 1804 and 1825, Rapp and his sectarians established three utopian communities in the United States, each housing as many as eight hundred people. In order to realize his goal of a perfect society, Rapp established an organizational model that clearly defined interactions between his society and the outside world and religious observances. His so-called Divine Economy enabled him to negotiate between the community’s practice of an inner-communal socialism, external capitalist entrepreneurship, and spiritual millennial beliefs. Moreover, by adhering to this model, Rapp and his followers transitioned successfully from self-sustaining agricultural work to frontier marketing, manufacturing, and global business activities. Continue Reading »
Reed, John
John Reed, an illiterate Hessian deserter during the Revolutionary War, founded the first commercial gold mining operation in the United States around the year 1803. Continue Reading »
Stiegel, Henry William
Henry William Stiegel was part of an early wave of German entrepreneurs who journeyed to British North America in the late seventeenth and early-eighteenth centuries. He established himself as both an ironmaster and a glassmaker. Continue Reading »
Sutro, Adolph
Adolph Sutro, full name Adolph Heinrich Joseph Sutro, was a German merchant, entrepreneur, and politician who emigrated from Aachen, Germany to San Francisco with a ferocious ambition to attain success in the “New World.” Rarely lacking doubt in his own capabilities, Sutro pursued a variety of businesses in pursuit of both financial success and public renown, including the construction of the Sutro Tunnel as part of the development of the Comstock Lode silver mine in Nevada and the development of a large real estate portfolio in his adopted hometown of San Francisco. Continue Reading »