Two women stand in the ruins of a lead smelter, Mineral Point, 1880-1910.
Smelting was an essential step in the process of getting valuable lead from mine to market. Lead-bearing ore was heated in log furnaces to melt the lead, which ran out into clay molds and re-solidified. This “pig lead” was shipped throughout the country and used to manufacture a variety of products including lead shot.
By the time these women posed for a photo in the ruins of this stone smelting furnace, Mineral Point’s lead mining industry was long gone. However, mining operations—of zinc, not lead—continued in the community through the turn of the century.
via: Glass Plate Negative Collection, Mineral Point Historical Society