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Edison and three men standing in front of Ogden Mines.

Iron-ore mining facility at Ogdensburg, New Jersey, about 1891

Edison became interested in techniques for extracting metals or metal ores (metal oxides) in 1879 when he was looking for a cheap sources of platinum to be used in his incandescent lamps. In 1880 he patented a method of using electromagnets to separate iron ore from crushed rock -- a method especially applicable to low-grade sources. (This was a specific method; the general technique had been known and used for years.) He began serious work in this area at plants in Humboldt, Michigan, and Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania, in 1886. Neither was successful. He established this very large plant, with giant rock crushers, in Ogdensberg, New Jersey, in 1889.

Left to right: A. Muller, William Kent, Edison, and A. Ruce.

SI negative #87-1623

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The Challenge of Success
Before Forty
Changes At Forty
Home Life
The New Technical World
Fame And Its Distractions
Edison In His Eighties