This article describes mining engineer Edward Wilson Davis's decades-long quest to develop an industrial system for mining and milling low-grade magnetic iron ore, also known as taconite, in the mid-twentieth century. Working at the University of Minnesota Mines Experiment Station and with industrialist Daniel Jackling, Davis developed successful taconite milling techniques and launched a commercial venture that revealed significant continuities between copper mining and low-grade iron ore mining. Davis also promoted taconite as a savior for the mining economy of Minnesota's Mesabi Iron Range. Davis rhetorically highlighted coming depletion of the Mesabi Iron Range's high-grade or hematite iron ores and he also worked to change state mineral tax laws so they were favorable to taconite. Reserve Mining Company named its large taconite mill the E. W. Davis Works in honor of his technical contributions.


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pp. 317-345
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