The Plant

The Plant

The Avalos Smelter

The Avalos Smelter

George Zangwill at the Avalos Smelter Lab
This photo courtesy of Coky Zangwill Bohanon, shows her father, George Zangwill, in the lab at the Avalos Smelter.

A view of what was smelted at the Chihuahua plant. (from Metal Magic: The Story of the American Smelting and Refining Company by Isaac F. Marcosson, p. 200-201)

“At Santa Eulalia, the Mining Department has been supplying the Chihuahua smelter with oxidized lead-silver ores since its establishment in 1908.  During the twenties, it was discovered that the ore from the San Antonio mine contained an appreciable amount of tin which was detrimental to the refining of lead bullion.  With the development of a process for separating the tin from the silver and lead, and the production both of high-grade silver-lead and of tin concentrates, a 200-ton-per-day mill was built.  It started operation in 1930.  The operation comprised flotation, gravity concentration, and magnetic separation.”

“Exhaustion of the ores containing tin and the opening up of ores containing vanadium caused a shift in milling procedure to the treatment of the vanadium ores.  It produced a vandium concentrate in addition to the silver-lead concentrate for the Chihuahua smelter.  The exhaustion, in turn, of the vanadium ores and the development of a considerable tonnage of lead-zince sulphide ores necessitated remodeling and enlargement in 1940 to treat these ores.  The remodeled mill was put in operation on a 600-ton daily basis in 1941.  in this mill you have an illuminating instance of the progressive evolution in operation due to changes in ores and processes.  Similarly the Tecolotes sulphide mill was rehabilitated.  A portion of the plant was utlized in treating the accumulated tailings from the old gravity-concetration plant.  These tailing still contained an appreciable amount of gold values together with some silver, lead, and zinc.”

“No further expansion in milling operations occurred until the United States’ entry into World War II, which created an abnormal demand for metals.  A 200-ton-per-day section was added to the Avalos mill of the Santa Eulalia unit. It was built to handle certain ores from the San Antonio Mine, development ores from other small mining units, and miscellaneous high zinc custom ores from outside shippers that were not suited to direct smelting. Acquistion of the San Carlos properties brought with it a 400-ton mill at San Carlos, which was rehabilitated and place in operation in 1942.  It produces lead concentrates for the Chihuahua smelter.”

To the far right, my great-grandfather, William James Morris and to the far left, plant manager, L.B. Harrison.

At the plant

At the plant

Employee dinner

Employee Dinner

Employee Dinner

25 Years of Service Dinner

25 Year Club Dinner - April 1960

25 Year Club Dinner - April 1960

Employee Meeting

This photo courtesy of my aunt, Catina Wilson Shupe and Coky Zangwill Bohanon, shows some of the employees at the Avalos Smelter. From left to right: Pancho Bremer, Jr., Bob Harbin, George Zangwill, Bob McDonald, Andy Bradford, Rafael Gutierrez. Second row left to right: Mike Young, Pancho Bremer, Sr., Art Collins, Angel Alvarado. Back row left to right: Jack Austin, and standing J.K. Hardy and Emilio Navarro.



8 thoughts on “The Plant”

  1. Janice O Fair said:

    My husbands Uncle , Richard Fair died in Chihuahua sometime in 1910 of Typhoid fever. He was involved in the mining business. We know nothing of his death or burial except for a small notice in the New York Times newspaper. He came from New Rochelle NY and was 28 years old. There was a family friend named John Weir who owned mines and knew the Guggenheims. John Weir went down on the Titanic in 1912, and the Guggenheims were mentioned in stories about him.
    We would love to find the death record and burial place for Richard Fair in Chihuahua and anything else about him. Do you have any idea who I could contact? Thank you, Janice O Fair

    • avalos2009 said:

      Hi Janice:

      Thanks for visiting my blog. That is an interesting story about your husbands uncle and I’ll keep it in mind as I work on my research. I asked my mother if there was a cemetery at the Avalos plant. She said there wasn’t. She suggests you investigate Panteon de Dolores in Chihuahua City (image: I’ve been trying to find information about the cemetery but haven’t been successful. As far as searching for his death certificate, you might try the Chihuahua link provided by Kindred Trails: Best of luck in your search.
      Liz Marquez

      • Bruce Hostetter said:

        [Seeking research leads / advice about my father from 1920’s gold mining in Chihuahua] Janice, I am not sure how to start a new thread so will be brief. I am writing about my father, Morgan D. Hostetter who managed a gold mine in the early 20’s. I only have his accounts and remember hearing that he got the job by upstaging a German engineer who could not fix the air compressor, which my father did. My father sought this job in order to provide for his wife’s health, she had tuberculous, later died, I believe there. He told me that the men who worked for him were part of the revolutionary army (circa 1920-22) and led by General Vista (not Villa). Any ideas where to start? Thanks——–==Bruce Hostetter, Seattle

  2. Deanna Leboff said:

    I looked up your name on the web as I’m giving a talk about the Ayrton family, and knew your name from Meri-Jane Rochelson’s book. Meri-Jane was a great friend of my father, who was a devotee of Israel Zangwill and Secretary of the Israel Zangwill Society here in Britain. I found this article absolutely fascinating, especially seeing the picture of your father, whose first name was originally Ayrton, of course. I also saw a website with a picture of you as a child. I do find the Ayrtons amazing. I’ve traced them back to the 1620s, and they have so many distinguished people among them – everyone from an Egyptologist to a famous actor, not forgetting your amazing great-grandmother Hertha Ayrton.
    With all best wishes from Brecon in Wales.
    Deanna Leboff

  3. Gerardo Gonzalez said:

    Hello my great grandfather marcelo arriaga owned the biggest bakery in santa eulalia chihuahua.My grandfather catarino arriaga was taken out of school at 10yrs old to make bread for the fam bakery. At 15yrs old he then worked the san luis potosi mine my mother was also born in santa eulalia I was wondering if you new how to find out where to look for info on the bakery or any other info would be helpful mabye in the years between 1876 when my great gpa was born to the 1950s is when they were in that area thanks

    • Hi Gerardo,
      Do you know what the name of the bakery was? When I research, I usually use the Google search and El Heraldo de Chihuahua. If you live in Chihuahua, I hope there are historical resources available. If you send me the name, maybe I will run across something.
      Best to you,

  4. Sal Samaniego said:

    My great-grandfather, Jesse W. Robinson, worked at the plant in/or around Chihuahua in the early 1900’s. He and his family fled just before Pancho Villa started creating problems with mining companies. He was on a train to Juarez with his family and was stopped by Villistas, was taken off the train and not allowed to proceed with his family. My mother, Mabel, was about six months old. Do you have any information on him? Thank you, Salvador Samaniego

  5. Edgar Moctezuma said:

    some one has pictures from the early 80s. I worked in the Lead smelter at Avalos Chi.
    I do no not have any printed memories.

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