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Iron Will

Cleveland-Cliffs and the Mining of Iron Ore, 1847-2006

Terry S. Reynolds and Virginia P. Dawson

Publication Year: 2011

The history of Cleveland-Cliffs, a company that played a key role in iron mining development in the Lake Superior region.

Published by: Wayne State University Press

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pp. vii-viii

In early 2007 Cleveland-Cliff s contracted with us to write Iron Will, with the understanding that we would conduct research and write the narrative free from oversight. We are deeply grateful to the company for its support and forbearance. Terry S. Reynolds is a historian of technology who teaches at Michigan Tech in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where the company’s early mining history took place. He has published ...

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pp. 1-12

On New Year’s Day, 2001, retired United Steelworkers’ representative Ernie Ronn congratulated John Brinzo, then chief executive officer of Cleveland-Cliff s, Inc., for leading the company across the threshold of the new century. Ronn’s letter was sent from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the location of the company’s Empire and Tilden mines. He proudly alluded to the five generations of the Ronn family ...

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1. Foundations and Traditions, 1846–1865

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pp. 13-43

The founders of the company that would eventually become the Cleveland-Cliff s Iron Company did not intend to mine iron. They hoped for copper or, perhaps, silver. How, then, did they end up mining a base metal like iron? ...

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2. Technology, Transport, and Transformation, 1865–1891

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pp. 44-83

In 1864 a journalist declared that the day was “forever past” when iron works east of the Alleghenies would furnish the West with iron. The future, he asserted, belonged to iron works west of the Alleghenies, those supplied with Lake Superior ore.1 Indeed, this transition was well under way when he wrote. In 1860 Lake Superior mines had produced less than 5 percent of American iron ore. By 1870 the proportion had tripled ...

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3. Crises, Diversification, and Integration, 1891–1930

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pp. 84-138

On October 8, 1890, Samuel Livingston Mather died in Cleveland. On the day of his funeral—the 11th—over 500 miles away on the Marquette iron range, “all work of every kind” ceased on Cleveland Iron Mining Company properties “out of respect to his memory.”1 Mather had served as an officer in the company from 1853 and as president from 1869 to 1890. He had become the heart and soul of the...

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4. Depression, War, and Depletion, 1930–1950

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pp. 139-168

On Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929, after a prolonged period of over speculation, stock prices on the New York Stock Exchange began to drop rapidly. Attempts to halt the decline failed. By the time stock prices hit bottom in 1932, the market had lost 89 percent of its value. Financial panic, deflation, and bank failures ensued. As confidence in the economy waned, businesses closed, unemployment ...

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5. Pellets and Partnerships, 1950–1974

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pp. 169-204

In June 1950 the people of the mining communities of Gwinn, Negaunee, and Ishpeming, as well as those working in the company’s six mines on the Mesabi, gathered to celebrate the centennial of the Cleveland-Cliffs Company. Executives and members of the board of directors arrived from Cleveland aboard two historic ore boats, the William G. Mather and Jasper H. Sheadle. Neither William Mather nor E. B. Greene ...

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6. Great Expectations and Unexpected Challenges, 1974–2000

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pp. 205-242

By far the company’s most ambitious pelletizing venture, the Tilden mine, came onstream in 1974 at a time of intense demand for iron ore. “We are in a world-wide shortage of iron ore,” President Stu Harrison wrote in March 1974. “While there will undoubtedly be periods of surplus in the future, the long-term trend is definitely one of scarcity.”1 For the first time in the history of Cleveland-Cliffs’ fleet, shortages ...

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7. Reinventing Cleveland-Cliffs, 2000–2006

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pp. 243-270

In October 2001 the Wall Street Journal published an article by Clare Ansberry with the headline “Seizing the Moment: Steelmakers’ Troubles Create an Opening for an Iron-Ore Giant—In Sinking Economy, Some Exploit Opportunities Where Others Retrench.” Ansberry described how American steel companies had begun to go bankrupt even before the sharp decline of the market after the terrorist attack on the World ...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. 271-272


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pp. 273-320


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pp. 321-338


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pp. 339-351

E-ISBN-13: 9780814336434
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814335116

Page Count: 360
Illustrations: 115
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: 1
Volume Title: N/a