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Tungsten in Peace and War, 1918–1946

Ron Limbaugh

Publication Year: 2010

Published by: University of Nevada Press

Front Cover

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Title Page

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Contents, List of Illustrations

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pp. v-vii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

"Leukemia Cluster: Tungsten Level High in Urine.” A 2002 headline from the Las Vegas Review-Journal alarmed residents of Fallon, Nevada, sixty miles east of Reno, a community in Churchill County surrounded by military facilities, farms, and old mines. Further investigations by the federal Centers for Disease Control, however, found no clear evidence of a link between the community’s ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

Th e idea for this book originated more than a few years ago, when I was serving the dual role of professor of history and archivist at the University of Pacific. On a research trip to Sonora, California, I met Mrs. Mary Etta Segerstrom, daughter- in- law of Charles H. Segerstrom. She first introduced me to the monumental accumulation of corporate records, correspondence, and other documents that make up the central files of the Nevada- Massachusetts ...

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Chapter 1. STEEL ALLOYS AND THE RISE OF MODERN INDUSTRY

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pp. 1-17

If steel is a critical building block of modern industry, tungsten is an essential component of modern steel alloys. Steelmaking has an ancient history, but making steel harder by adding tungsten is a commercial process barely a century old. Introducing the evolving technologies and industries that led to tungsten’s economic development provides historical context, and helps explain how and why one modest Nevada mining company rose to national ...

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Chapter 2. TUNGSTEN IN WORLD WAR I

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pp. 18-42

In the two decades before the First World War, steel alloys had revolutionized the machine tool industry and altered the course of modern industrial development. Aft er 1914 steel alloys changed the course of war. Copper, lead, zinc, aluminum, iron, and other metals were all enlisted as never before in the global struggle that followed the Sarajevo crisis, but to many contemporary observers the “key metal” of World War I was tungsten. From 1914 through the ...

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Chapter 3. FROM PACIFIC TUNGSTEN TO NEVADA-MASSACHUSETTS

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pp. 43-68

American tungsten producers did not share in the corporate gains that characterized much of the economy during the Roaring Twenties. Except for a few operators still working to fulfill old orders, tungsten mining in the United States virtually died in 1919 and did not revive for nearly five years. First of the larger operators to close was Pacific Tungsten. With a mismanaged mill, no operating capital, and a mountain of debt, it folded in January. Next to go ...

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Chapter 4. TUNGSTEN AND THE GREAT DEPRESSION

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pp. 69-90

The formative years of the Nevada- Massachusetts Company ended just as America’s greatest economic crisis began. Instead of better times, the tungsten business slid downhill along with the rest of American industry aft er the market crash in the fall of 1929. Th rough the decade of uncertainty and upheaval that followed, Charles Segerstrom managed his affairs with remarkable resilience and pragmatic adaptation to change. In the process his company not ...

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Chapter 5. MINING AND MARKETING DURING THE NEW DEAL

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pp. 91-118

Franklin Delano Roosevelt is considered one of America’s greatest presidents, yet history has been hard on New Deal domestic programs. Most scholars agree that despite all the governmental stimuli designed to raise production, prices, and wages, recovery remained elusive until aft er the rearmament rush as the world geared up for another war. Businessmen did not need the perspective ...

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Chapter 6. STRATEGIC METALS AT THE START OF WORLD WAR II

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pp. 119-149

"The situation is very unsettled and no one knows what is going to happen in the next few weeks. Th e lid may be blown off the whole thing in Europe if Germany starts in with Poland and then we don’t know what will happen.”1 ...

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Chapter 7. AMERICAN WARTIME METAL POLICY AND PRACTICE

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pp. 150-174

America’s belated entry into World War II changed the focus if not the scope of national security. Before Pearl Harbor, the chief aims of policy makers had been to mobilize the military to keep American shores safe and spur industry to keep Britain in the war. During the two- year conversion to a wartime economy, government planners had imposed a series of “mechanisms” to encourage greater production of war goods, prevent or off set labor and ...

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Chapter 8. NEVADA-MASSACHUSETTS IN WORLD WAR II

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pp. 175-204

Though distant from political and economic centers of wartime decision making, Charles H. Segerstrom kept careful track of events from his company headquarters on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. Unless on a business trip he was never far from the teletype machines that connected his office in Sonora with the Nevada mines and his eastern brokerage in New York. An inveterate reader and writer, whenever he had a free minute he scanned and ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 205-210

As a corporate entity, the Nevada- Massachusetts Company lasted more than fifty years. For the first thirty Charles H. Segerstrom Sr. was president and chief executive officer. He essentially raised the company out of the ashes of its predecessor, Pacific Tungsten, and he remained its primary source of inspiration and leadership through the critical thirties and early forties. Under his management the company successfully anticipated and adjusted to dynamic ...

Notes

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pp. 211-245

Bibliography

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pp. 247-274

Index

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pp. 275-284


E-ISBN-13: 9780874178210
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874178203

Page Count: 312
Illustrations: 13 b/w photographs
Publication Year: 2010

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Subject Headings

  • Tungsten ores -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Strategic materials -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Nevada-Massachusetts Company -- History -- 20th century.
  • International trade -- History -- 20th century.
  • Tungsten industry -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Tungsten -- Political aspects -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Pacific Tungsten Company -- History -- 20th century.
  • United States -- Commerce -- History -- 20th century.
  • Technological innovations -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Tungsten mines and mining -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
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