National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Mechanical and Civil Engineering Search this
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Work and Industry Search this
20.4 Cubic feet (3 boxes, 82 folders)
Upper Peninsula (Mich.)
Tracings on linen of steam engines of all types, pumping, histing, air compressing, mining, material handling, power transmission, mine structures, mining machinery, and buildings by Erasmus D. Leavitt, Jr. for Calumet Heclas, Inc. of Calumet, Michigan.
Scope and Contents note:
These papers contain engineering drawings by Leavitt from the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company including tracings and blueprints of 2000 to 8000 horsepower compound hoisting engines, 1889-1917; hoisting plants, 1891-1901; shaft hoisting gear, 1887-1902; Calumet & Hecla compressor houses, 1877-1882; waterworks; and electric plants. Also included are notebooks containing engine drawings and calculations; account books, 1885; a diary; a letterpress volume of sketches and office memoranda, 1884-1890; scrapbooks.
The collection is arranged into one series by drawing number. Descriptions contain a category designation beginning with a letter. For example, drawings associated with Torch Lake in Michigan are desginated as Category K. In some instances, the drawings are categorized as XY with no further description or are un-numbered.
Series 1: Drawings
A Pumping Engine No. 2
B Boiler House and Gear House
C Gearing for Pump and Man Engine
D Hoisting Engine No. 1, Hecla Mine
E Calumet Mine General
F Calumet Pond Water Works
G Hecla Mine General
H No. 4 Stamp for Calumet Mill
I Calumet & Helca Mine General
J Calumet Hoisting Gear
K Torch Lake
L Hoisting Engine "Superior"
M Miscellaneous Engine Parts
N Pumping Engine "Arcadian"
O Engine "Wabeek"
P Pumping Engine "Ontario"
Q Hoisting Engine "Frontenac"
R Engine "Erie"
S Engine "Hecla"
T Pumping Engine No. 1
U Black Hills Hoisting Gear
V Hoisting Engines "Gratiot", "Houghton" & "Seneca"
W Pumping Engines "Michigan" & "Winnipeg"
X Hoisting Engines "Minong" & "Siscowitt"
Y Hoisting Engines "Mesnard & Pontiac"
Z Hoisting Engines "Hancock" & "Pewabic"
AA Sinking Engines "Delaware" & "Iroquois"
BB Compressor Engine "Mackinac"
CC Compressor Engine "Baraga"
DD Lake Superior Water Works
EE Hoisting Engines "Marquette" & Chippewa"
FF Hoisting Engines "Minnesota" & "Escanaba" and "Illinois" & "Wisconsin"
GG Misc. City of Boston Improved Sewerage Pumping Engine
The Calumet & Hecla Company, which was formed in about 1866, was one of the largest mining operations in the Lake Superior region of upper Michigan. Over 3 billion pounds of copper were removed from its extensive mines by the time operations ceased in 1939. To facilitate the work in both the mines and smelting plants, the company installed some the largest steam engines ever built. The aggregate amounted to over 55,000 horsepower.
Noted 19th century steam engineer Erasmus Darwin Leavitt was hired to design the series of huge multi-cylinder engines. Each had sufficient power to support several operations at one time. While an engine drove one of the hoists, it might also power pumping, conveying, and air compressing machinery. At the peak of operations there were at least 50 steam engines of all sizes providing power to Calumet & Hecla. Falling copper prices during the 1920s and the economic depression of the 1930s ultimately forced the mines to close. The engines were of no further use and their countless tons of cast iron and steel ended up in the scrap drives of World War II.
The collection came to the Smithsonian in 1960 from Calumet & Hecla, Inc. In the course of a reorganization in 1952 mining had been dropped from the company name as the emphasis was on chemicals, foundry work, and forest products. Its remaining mining activites in other areas of Michigan were phased out during the 1960s and in 1968 C&H merged with Universal Oil Prodcuts, Inc. Late in 1970 UOP scrapped what was left of the C&H physical plant and its remaining assests were auctioned off.
Materials at Other Organizations
Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper COuntry Hihstorical Collections
Calumet and Hecla Mining Company Collection
Collection materials donated by Calumet and Hecla, Inc. in 1960 and by Thomas E. P. Rice, 1977.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.