Anaconda Copper
Overview
 
Anaconda Copper Mining Company (until 1915 known as the Amalgamated Copper Mining Company) was one of the largest trusts of the early 20th century. The Anaconda was purchased by Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO
ARCO
Atlantic Richfield Company is an oil company with operations in the United States as well as in Indonesia, the North Sea, and the South China Sea. It has more than 1,300 gas stations in the western part of the United States. ARCO was originally formed by the merger of East Coast-based Atlantic...

) on January 12, 1977. At present (2007), Anaconda exists only as an environmental liability for BP
BP
BP p.l.c. is a global oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest energy company and fourth-largest company in the world measured by revenues and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors"...

, the current owner of ARCO.
Anaconda Copper Mining Company started in 1881 when Marcus Daly
Marcus Daly
Marcus Daly redirects here, see also Marcus Daly Marcus Daly was an Irish-born American businessman known as one of the three "Copper Kings" of Butte, Montana, United States.- Early life:...

 bought a small silver mine called Anaconda near Butte, Montana
Butte, Montana
Butte is a city in Montana and the county seat of Silver Bow County, United States. In 1977, the city and county governments consolidated to form the sole entity of Butte-Silver Bow. As of the 2010 census, Butte's population was 34,200...

.
Encyclopedia
Anaconda Copper Mining Company (until 1915 known as the Amalgamated Copper Mining Company) was one of the largest trusts of the early 20th century. The Anaconda was purchased by Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO
ARCO
Atlantic Richfield Company is an oil company with operations in the United States as well as in Indonesia, the North Sea, and the South China Sea. It has more than 1,300 gas stations in the western part of the United States. ARCO was originally formed by the merger of East Coast-based Atlantic...

) on January 12, 1977. At present (2007), Anaconda exists only as an environmental liability for BP
BP
BP p.l.c. is a global oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest energy company and fourth-largest company in the world measured by revenues and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors"...

, the current owner of ARCO.

Beginnings

Anaconda Copper Mining Company started in 1881 when Marcus Daly
Marcus Daly
Marcus Daly redirects here, see also Marcus Daly Marcus Daly was an Irish-born American businessman known as one of the three "Copper Kings" of Butte, Montana, United States.- Early life:...

 bought a small silver mine called Anaconda near Butte, Montana
Butte, Montana
Butte is a city in Montana and the county seat of Silver Bow County, United States. In 1977, the city and county governments consolidated to form the sole entity of Butte-Silver Bow. As of the 2010 census, Butte's population was 34,200...

. (Anaconda would eventually own all the mines on Butte Hill.) He asked George Hearst
George Hearst
George Hearst was a wealthy American businessman and United States Senator, and the father of newspaperman William Randolph Hearst.-Early life and education:...

 (father of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst
William Randolph Hearst
William Randolph Hearst was an American business magnate and leading newspaper publisher. Hearst entered the publishing business in 1887, after taking control of The San Francisco Examiner from his father...

) for additional support, who agreed to buy one-fourth of the new company's stock without visiting the site. Huge deposits of another mineral, copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

, were discovered soon and Daly became a copper magnate. Daly quietly bought up neighboring mines forming a mining company. He then built a smelter at Anaconda which he connected to Butte by a railway.

Butte, a small and poor town, became one of the most prosperous cities in the country, often called "the Richest Hill on Earth." From 1892 through 1903, the Anaconda mine was the largest copper-producing mine in the world. It produced more than $300 billion worth of metal in its lifetime.

The Rothschilds

In 1889 the Rothschilds
Rothschild family
The Rothschild family , known as The House of Rothschild, or more simply as the Rothschilds, is a Jewish-German family that established European banking and finance houses starting in the late 18th century...

 attempted to control the world copper market. In 1892 the French Rothschilds began negotiations to buy the Anaconda mine. In mid-October 1895 the Rothschilds, French and British, bought one quarter of the stock in Anaconda for 7.5 million dollars. By the late 1890s the Rothschilds probably had control over the sale of about forty percent of the world’s copper production.

The Rockefellers

The Rothschilds' role in Anaconda was brief. In 1899, Daly teamed up with two directors of John D. Rockefeller
John D. Rockefeller
John Davison Rockefeller was an American oil industrialist, investor, and philanthropist. He was the founder of the Standard Oil Company, which dominated the oil industry and was the first great U.S. business trust. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry and defined the structure of...

's Standard Oil
Standard Oil
Standard Oil was a predominant American integrated oil producing, transporting, refining, and marketing company. Established in 1870 as a corporation in Ohio, it was the largest oil refiner in the world and operated as a major company trust and was one of the world's first and largest multinational...

 to create the giant Amalgamated Copper Mining Company, one of the largest trusts of the early 20th century.

By 1899 Amalgamated Copper acquired majority stock in the Anaconda Copper Company and the Rothschilds appear to have had no further role in the company. Marcus Daly had just become president of the seventy-five million-dollar holding company at his death in 1900.

The leading roles in the takeover were played by Henry Huttleston Rogers
Henry H. Rogers
Henry Huttleston Rogers was a United States capitalist, businessman, industrialist, financier, and philanthropist. He made his fortune in the oil refinery business, becoming a leader at Standard Oil....

 (John D. Rockefeller
John D. Rockefeller
John Davison Rockefeller was an American oil industrialist, investor, and philanthropist. He was the founder of the Standard Oil Company, which dominated the oil industry and was the first great U.S. business trust. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry and defined the structure of...

’s friend and a key man in his Standard Oil businesses) and William Rockefeller
William Rockefeller
William Avery Rockefeller, Jr. , American financier, was a co-founder with his older brother John D. Rockefeller of the prominent United States Rockefeller family. He was the son of William Avery Rockefeller, Sr. and Eliza Rockefeller.-Youth, education:Rockefeller was born in Richford, New York,...

 (John’s brother).They were aided by company promoter Thomas W. Lawson
Thomas W. Lawson (businessman)
Thomas William Lawson was an American businessman and author. A highly controversial Boston stock promoter, he is known for both his efforts to promote reforms in the stock markets and the fortune he amassed for himself through highly dubious stock manipulations.The Scituate, Massachusetts...

. Although Rogers and William Rockefeller were Standard Oil directors, Standard Oil itself did not take part, nor did its founder and head, John D. Rockefeller, who disliked such stock promotions.

Lawson later had a falling out with Rogers and Rockefeller, and wrote of the experience in a book Frenzied Finance. Although not totally objective (probably due to Lawson's bitterness) it offered insight into aspects of high finance. Publicity from revelations such as these fueled public sentiment for controls which led to U.S. anti-trust laws such as those championed by President Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

.

Amalgamated competes in copper

At the beginning of the 1900s, due to electrification (and Amalgamated's maintenance of an artificially high copper price), copper was very profitable, and copper mining expanded rapidly. Between 1899 and 1915, Anaconda, controlled by Standard Oil insiders, stayed under the name of Amalgamated Copper Company.

Amalgamated was in conflict with powerful copper king F. Augustus Heinze
F. Augustus Heinze
Fritz Augustus Heinze was one of the three "Copper Kings" of Butte, Montana, along with William Andrews Clark and Marcus Daly...

, who also owned mines in Butte which in 1902 he consolidated as the United Copper Company. Thus, neither organization was able to monopolize copper extraction in Montana. In addition, although Butte was then the most prolific copper-mining district in the world, Amalgamated could not control other copper-mining districts, such as those in Michigan
Copper Country
The Copper Country is an area in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the United States, including all of Keweenaw County, Michigan and most of Houghton, Baraga and Ontonagon counties. The area is so named as copper mining was prevalent there from 1845 until the late 1960s, with one mine ...

, Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

, and countries outside the United States.

Control of producing mines was a key to high income. In this regard, Marcus Daley died in 1900, and his widow began a close friendship with a shrewd, intelligent businessman, John D. Ryan
John D. Ryan (mining)
John Dennis Ryan was an American industrialist and copper mining magnate. President of Anaconda Copper Mining Company and creator of Montana Power Company.-Biography:...

, who assumed the presidency of Daly's bank and management of the widow's fortune. The leaders of Amalgamated turned to Ryan, famous for his negotiation skills, for help in creating a monopoly at Butte.

Ryan convinced Heinze to walk away with abundant compensation,and took over Heinze's properties and the properties of William A. Clark (Butte’s third copper king). The Rockefellers were then able to gain complete control of Butte's copper as they merged them all with Amalgamated. The reorganized company was again named Anaconda. Ryan became its president, and was rewarded with significant package of Amalgamated shares.

The "right hand" of John Ryan was Cornelius Kelley, young attorney, who soon was given the position of vice-president.

Henry Rogers died suddenly in 1909 of a stroke, but William Rockefeller brought in his son Percy Rockefeller to help with leadership.

The golden twenties

During the 20's metal prices went up and mining activity increased. Those were really the golden years for Anaconda. The company was managed by dexterous Ryan-Kelley team and was growing fast, expanding into new areas of activity: manganese
Manganese
Manganese is a chemical element, designated by the symbol Mn. It has the atomic number 25. It is found as a free element in nature , and in many minerals...

, zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

, aluminum, uranium
Uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

and silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

.

In 1922 the company acquired mining operations in Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

 and Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

. The mining operation in Chile (Chuquicamata
Chuquicamata
Chuquicamata, or "Chuqui" as it is more familiarly known, is by digged volume the biggest open pit copper mine in the world, located in the north of Chile, 215 km northeast of Antofagasta and 1,240 km north of the capital, Santiago...

), which cost Anaconda $77 million, was the largest copper mine in the world. Then it was the source of two-thirds to three-fourths of the Anaconda Company's profits.

The same year ACM purchased American Brass Company, the nation's largest brass fabricator and a major consumer of copper and zinc. In 1926 Anaconda acquired the Giesche
Giesche
Giesche Corp. – one of the biggest and most respectable companies operating in Upper Silesia, in Poland, during interwar times...

 company, a large mining and industrial firm, operating in the Upper Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

 region of Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

.

At that time Anaconda was the fourth largest company in the world. These heady times, however, were short-lived.

Great speculation

In 1928 Ryan and Percy Rockefeller aggressively speculated on Anaconda shares, causing them to go up at first (when they sold) and then to go down (when they buy them back). Known today as a "pump and dump
Pump and dump
"Pump and dump" is a form of microcap stock fraud that involves artificially inflating the price of an owned stock through false and misleading positive statements, in order to sell the cheaply purchased stock at a higher price....

", at the time it was not illegal, and was actually quite common. The prices, under the pressure of a "joint account" set up by Ryan and Rockefeller of nearly a million and a half shares of Anaconda Copper Company, fluctuated from $40 in December, 1928 to $128 in March 1929.

Smaller investors were completely wiped out. The results are still considered one of the great fleecings in Wall Street history. The American Senate hearings concluded that those operations cost the public, at the very least, $150 million. A 1933 Senate banking committee called these operations the greatest frauds in American banking history and a leading cause of the 1930s depression.

Great Depression

In 1929 Anaconda Copper Mining Co. issued new stock and used some of the money to buy shares of speculative companies. When the market crashed on Oct. 29, 1929, Anaconda suffered serious financial setbacks. Moreover, at the same time, copper prices started going down dramatically. During the winter of 1932-33 copper prices had dropped to $0.103 per kg, down from an average of $0.295 per kg only two years earlier.

The Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 took its toll with massive unemployment in both the United States and Chile (up to 66 percent unemployment rate in the Chilean mines). On March 26 1931, Anaconda cut its dividend rate 40%.
John D. Ryan died in 1933 and was buried in a copper coffin. His mighty Anaconda shares, once worth $175 each, had dropped to $4 at the bottom of the Great Depression. Cornelius Kelley became the Chairman in 1940.

Beginning of WWII

Butte mining, like most U.S. industry, remained in depression until the dawn of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, when the demand for war materials greatly increased the need for copper, zinc, and manganese. That relieved some of the economic tensions.

The end of World War II brought another downturn in the copper industry.

The 1950s

During post-war years prices of copper dropped. At the same time mining costs had risen precipitously. As a result, copper production from Butte's underground vein mines dropped to only 45,000 mt annually. Clearly, something had to be done if mining were to continue to prosper in the Butte district.
The answer was called the "Greater Butte Project" (GBP). The project would exploit lower-grade underground reserves by the block-caving method. The new method was successful, although short-lived.

In 1956 Anaconda netted the largest annual income in its history: $111.5 million. But since then ore grades were continuing their decline, mining costs were rising each year, and profits were diminishing. To stay alive, the company switched to open-pit mining, a very area-consuming method. The Berkeley Pit
Berkeley Pit
The Berkeley Pit is a former open pit copper mine located in Butte, Montana, United States. It is one mile long by half a mile wide with an approximate depth of . It is filled to a depth of about with water that is heavily acidic , about the acidity of cola or lemon juice...

 kept expanding and ate away at the older parts of Butte.

The 1970s

In 1971, Chile's newly elected Socialist president Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende Gossens was a Chilean physician and politician who is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America....

 confiscated the Chuquicamata
Chuquicamata
Chuquicamata, or "Chuqui" as it is more familiarly known, is by digged volume the biggest open pit copper mine in the world, located in the north of Chile, 215 km northeast of Antofagasta and 1,240 km north of the capital, Santiago...

 mine from Anaconda. Anaconda lost two-thirds of its copper production. Two years later, a compensation of $250 million was paid to Anaconda by the Chilean government, after the military overthrow of Allende in September 1973.

Losses from the Chilean takeover, however, had seriously weakened the company's financial position. Later in 1971, Anaconda's Mexican copper mine Compañía Minera de Cananea
Cananea
-Economy:Mining is the main source of revenue for Cananea and will be for the foreseeable future. Eighty percent of the population is directly or indirectly supported by mining companies in Cananea. The first and most important mining company is Mexicana de Cananea, S.A. de C.V. owned by and...

, S.A. was nationalized by president Luis Echeverría Álvarez's government. An unwise investment in the unsuccessful Twin Buttes mine in southern Arizona further weakened the company, and in 1977 Anaconda was sold to Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) for $700 million. However, the purchase turned out to be a regrettable decision for ARCO. Lack of experience with hard-rock mining, and a sudden drop in the price of copper to sixty-odd cents a pound, the lowest in years, caused ARCO to suspend all operations in Butte.

By 1983, six years after acquiring rights to the "Richest Hill on Earth," the Berkeley Pit was completely idle. ARCO founder, Robert Orville Anderson, stated "he hoped Anaconda's resources and expertise would help him launch a major shale-oil venture, but that the world oil glut
1980s oil glut
The 1980s oil glut was a serious surplus of crude oil caused by falling demand following the 1970s Energy Crisis. The world price of oil, which had peaked in 1980 at over US$35 per barrel , fell in 1986 from $27 to below $10...

 and the declining price of petroleum
Price of petroleum
The price of petroleum as quoted in news generally refers to the spot price per barrel of either WTI/light crude as traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange for delivery at Cushing, Oklahoma, or of Brent as traded on the Intercontinental Exchange for delivery at Sullom Voe.The price...

 made shale oil
Shale oil
Shale oil, known also as kerogen oil or oil-shale oil, is an unconventional oil produced from oil shale by pyrolysis, hydrogenation, or thermal dissolution. These processes convert the organic matter within the rock into synthetic oil and gas...

 moot." At the time of the sale to ARCO, Anaconda had large working hard coal holdings in the Black Thunder mine at Thunder Basin, Wyoming. ARCO planned to diversify its energy business into coal. In June 1998, Arch Coal completed the acquisition of the coal assets of Atlantic Richfield.

Closing down the mines was not the end of new owner’s problems…

Superfund site

The area of Butte, Montana
Butte, Montana
Butte is a city in Montana and the county seat of Silver Bow County, United States. In 1977, the city and county governments consolidated to form the sole entity of Butte-Silver Bow. As of the 2010 census, Butte's population was 34,200...

, Anaconda, Montana
Anaconda, Montana
Anaconda, county seat of Anaconda City/Deer Lodge County, is located in mountainous southwestern Montana. The Continental Divide passes within 8 miles of the community with the local Pintler Mountain range reaching 10,379 feet...

, and the Clark Fork River were highly contaminated. Milling and smelting produced wastes with high concentrations of arsenic
Arsenic
Arsenic is a chemical element with the symbol As, atomic number 33 and relative atomic mass 74.92. Arsenic occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals, and also as a pure elemental crystal. It was first documented by Albertus Magnus in 1250.Arsenic is a metalloid...

, as well as copper, cadmium
Cadmium
Cadmium is a chemical element with the symbol Cd and atomic number 48. This soft, bluish-white metal is chemically similar to the two other stable metals in group 12, zinc and mercury. Similar to zinc, it prefers oxidation state +2 in most of its compounds and similar to mercury it shows a low...

, lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

, zinc, and other heavy metals. That’s why, beginning in 1980s, the Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 designated the Upper Clark Fork river basin and many associated areas as Superfund
Superfund
Superfund is the common name for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 , a United States federal law designed to clean up sites contaminated with hazardous substances...

 sites - the nation's largest.

The EPA named ARCO
ARCO
Atlantic Richfield Company is an oil company with operations in the United States as well as in Indonesia, the North Sea, and the South China Sea. It has more than 1,300 gas stations in the western part of the United States. ARCO was originally formed by the merger of East Coast-based Atlantic...

 as the "potentially responsible party." Atlantic Richfield Company was obliged to remediate (clean up) the area. Since then, Atlantic Richfield has spent hundreds of millions of dollars decontaminating and rehabilitating the area, though the job is far from finished.

ARCO, officially BP West Coast Products LLC, is now a subsidiary of BP
BP
BP p.l.c. is a global oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest energy company and fourth-largest company in the world measured by revenues and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors"...

.

Anaconda Copper in literature and film

The independent documentary An Injury to One chronicles the history of Anaconda in Butte, Montana, and its efforts to suppress unionization by its workers. The short film ends with a discussion of Berkeley Pit. The 2009 documentary Butte, America
Butte, America
Butte, America is a 2009 documentary film about Butte, Montana's history as a copper mining town. It was created by Pamela Roberts, narrated by Gabriel Byrne, and includes a mix of first hand accounts and scholarly analysis from John T. Shea, Marie Cassidy, David Emmons, and Janet Finn...

 covers similar themes.

The "Copper Collar"

The term copper collar, coined in the late 1800s, was a metaphor used to describe a person or a company directly influenced or controlled by the Anaconda Company. “From the 1920s until 1959, journalists working at the newspapers could write nothing that clashed with the company’s business enterprises. Journalists were thus not all owed to develop and exercise their professional skills through their news judgment—lawyers and accountants made news judgments, not journalists—and were frozen for decades in this pre-professional model.” By 1920, the Anaconda Company owned several of the states newspapers including the Butte Post, the Butte Minor, the Anaconda Standard, the Daily Missoulian, the Helena Independent, and the Billings Gazette
Billings Gazette
The Billings Gazette is the largest newspaper in Montana and Northern Wyoming. It is geographically one of the largest distributed newspapers in the nation....

. . The Anaconda Company controlled the economic and political dealings throughout Montana well into the mid-1900s.

As the state's largest employer, the Anaconda Company dominated Montana politics. In the political arena the "copper collar" symbolized influence, wealth, and power. In 1894, Montana held an election to decide which city would be its capital. Marcus Daly, an Anaconda supporter, used his power over the papers to further his cause. While campaigning, “Anaconda’s supporters portrayed Helena as a center of avarice and elitism while promoting their choice as the pick of the working man. In return, Helena’s backers claimed that if the victory should go to their opponent the entire state would be strangled by the “copper collar” of Daly’s Anaconda Copper Mining Company." Daly’s campaign was unsuccessful and Helena became the states capital. Flexing its political muscle again in 1903, the Anaconda Company closed down operations, putting fifteen thousand men out of work, until the legislature enacted the regulations it demanded. Montanans were angered by this decision and from that point forward to suggest that a politician “wore a copper collar” could cost him the election.

The copper collar symbolized oppression and control to the people of Butte. In the early 1900s, it was believed that Butte’s culture with its “perverse pride in its wide-open character was a response to the people’s belief in the all-encompassing power of the company. Butte’s bars, gambling dens, dance halls, and brothels were among the few public institutions not owned or controlled by Anaconda. It was not only the hazards of mining and the grim environment of Butte that propelled men and women to frenzied gaiety, but also the thought that here were arenas of self-expression denied them elsewhere in a city ringed by the “copper collar”.”

Choosing sides in this battle was unavoidable. According to Author Fisher’s piece, Montana: Land of the Copper Collar, “Six months is the longest one may live in Montana without making the decision whether one is "for the Company" or "against the Company." The all-pervading and unrelenting nature of the struggle admits of no neutrals. Since the territory's admission to statehood in 1889 the struggle has continued.”

The use of the term "copper collar" has found its way into historical novels from that period. In The Old Copper Collar, a tale of the course of a senatorial election in Helena
Helena, Montana
Helena is the capital city of the U.S. state of Montana and the county seat of Lewis and Clark County. The 2010 census put the population at 28,180. The local daily newspaper is the Independent Record. The Helena Brewers minor league baseball and Helena Bighorns minor league hockey team call the...

 in the early 1900s, Dan Cushman makes a reference to the "copper collar": “At this point the galleries packed with Bennett sympathizers commenced heckling him with suggestions he wore the Copper Collar, but these hoots and catcalls he contemptuously ignored, reiterated his freedom from all cliques, factions, and corporations and that his purpose had been purely and simply to prove or disprove unlawful practices, and sat down.” Even the suggestion that a person wore the “copper collar” created pandemonium from the crowd.

Ivan Doig
Ivan Doig
Ivan Doig is an American novelist. He was born in White Sulphur Springs, Montana to a family of homesteaders and ranch hands. After the death of his mother Berneta, on his sixth birthday, he was raised by his father Charles "Charlie" Doig and his grandmother Elizabeth "Bessie" Ringer...

 also makes references to the "copper collar" in his story Work Song
Work Song
Work Song is an album by jazz cornetist Nat Adderley, recorded in January 1960 and released on the Riverside label. It features Adderley with Bobby Timmons, Wes Montgomery, Sam Jones, Percy Heath, Keter Betts and Louis Hayes in various combinations from a trio to a sextet, with the unusual sound of...

. In 1919, Gracie resists the powerful Anaconda Company as they attempt to bully her into sell her property. She says, "Leave this house at once, Whoever-You-Are Morgan. I’ll not have under my roof a man who wears the copper collar." The workers who are under the “copper collar” are referred to as “snakes” and the Anaconda Company is referred to as an “ogre”.

The "copper collar" symbolized different things to different people but one fact holds true, “the Anaconda Company used the tactics of an authoritarian state to quash a legitimate labor movement within its corporate fiefdom. That the press, an elemental part of democracy, was used in the assault marks a black period in the history of American journalism.” For decades Anaconda Company “mined and smelted metal, leveled forests, owned the newspapers, bribed the legislature, set the wages, murdered union organizers, exported the earnings, and finally shut down, leaving Butte and Anaconda the poorest cities in the states and the largest EPA Superfund site in the country.”

The phrase "copper collar" is also an example of metonymy
Metonymy
Metonymy is a figure of speech used in rhetoric in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept...

 when it is substituted for the act of the Anaconda Company controlling a person. It is closely related to the company because it is made of copper, which is what the company mined. A collar is device used to control, which is what the company used the copper collar for.

In the Semiotic Square
Semiotic square
The Semiotic Square, also known as the Greimas Square, is a tool used in the structural analysis of the relationships between semiotic signs. The Semiotic Square was developed by Algirdas J. Greimas, a Lithuanian linguist and semiotician and first presented in Semantique Structurale This book was...

 for the "copper collar" (see illustration), Marcus Daly is considered the assertion and Miners is the negation in the first binary pair. The second binary relationship is created on the “control” axis. Union, the not Marcus Daly element, is considered to be the complex term, and "copper collar", the not Miner element, is the neutral term. Both a union and the "copper collar" are things that are used to gain control. The Anaconda Company used the copper collar to gain control of the papers and legislature and the Miners wanted to establish a union to gain some control over their working conditions.

See also

  • Anaconda Copper Mine (Nevada)
    Anaconda Copper Mine (Nevada)
    The Anaconda Copper Mine is an open pit copper mine in Lyon County, Nevada that was owned and operated by the Anaconda Mining Company. It is located adjacent to the town of Yerington. The company town of Weed Heights was built to support the mining operation which ran until 1978.-History:The...

     - in Nevada
  • Anaconda Copper Mine (Montana) - in Montana
  • Anaconda, New Mexico
    Anaconda, New Mexico
    Anaconda was a small mining community in Valencia County, New Mexico. The town came into existence in the early 1950s when the Anaconda Copper Company of Butte, Montana opened up a uranium ore processing plant northwest of Grants, near the Jackpile Mine , the world's largest open-pit uranium mine...

  • Frank Little (unionist)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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