, Volume 60, Issue 10, pp 24–34 | Cite as

William Peirce and E.A. Cappelen Smith and their amazing copper converting machine

  • Larry M. Southwick
Pyrometallurgical Processing Overview


This is the story of how technology advances allowed the copper industry to realize its full potential. The Peirce-Smith Converting Centennial symposium, to be held at the TMS 2009 Annual Meeting, will celebrate the contributions of two men, William Peirce and E.A.C. Smith, in these advances. However, theirs is representative of a larger story: New, simpler technology releasing the stranglehold of older, more complicated technology, new developments in vessel configuration and design finding alternate routes around dead ends in operability, advances in technique and concepts removing roadblocks of cycle time and capacity, and overall innovation opening up vast new reserves around the world to those companies willing to embrace those improvements. Our story is also one of personalities, stubborn smeltermen versus the innovators, those inside the industry versus those from outside. It is a story of an initial borrowing from the steel industry, but also Peirce and Smith, from the refining end of the copper business, taking the ideas of Baggaley from Pittsburgh’s steel and air-brake industry, who built on what Hollway, Manhès and David, Douglas, and others had done in smelter tests, further to compete with the previous primacy and closely held expertise of the copper smeltermen in Wales. The photos presented illustrate these innovations.


Blast Furnace Magnesite Great Fall Blister Copper Reverberatory Furnace 
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Copyright information

© TMS 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CincinnatiUSA

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