Elias Anton Cappelen Smith
Elias Anton Cappelen Smith (6 November 1873 – 25 June 1949) was a Norwegian American
Norwegian American
Norwegian Americans are Americans of Norwegian descent. Norwegian immigrants went to the United States primarily in the later half of the 19th century and the first few decades of the 20th century. There are more than 4.5 million Norwegian Americans according to the most recent U.S. census, and...

  civil engineer
Civil engineer
A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering; the application of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructures while protecting the public and environmental health, as well as improving existing infrastructures that have been neglected.Originally, a...

 and metallurgist, who pioneered copper production in the early 20th century. Among his achievements were the Peirce-Smith converter process and the Guggenheim process.


Cappelen Smith was born in Trondheim
Trondheim , historically, Nidaros and Trondhjem, is a city and municipality in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway. With a population of 173,486, it is the third most populous municipality and city in the country, although the fourth largest metropolitan area. It is the administrative centre of...

 in Sør-Trøndelag
- References :...

 County, Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

. He was the son of Elias Anton Smith (1842–1912), founder of E.A. Smith AS and Ingeborg Anna Røvig (1846–1923). He was educated as a chemist
A chemist is a scientist trained in the study of chemistry. Chemists study the composition of matter and its properties such as density and acidity. Chemists carefully describe the properties they study in terms of quantities, with detail on the level of molecules and their component atoms...

 at Trondhjem Tekniske Læreanstalt, now the Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology , commonly known as NTNU, is located in Trondheim. NTNU is the second largest of the eight universities in Norway, and, as its name suggests, has the main national responsibility for higher education in engineering and technology...

, taking his final exam in 1893. The same year he emigrated to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...



Cappelen Smith was employed in the metallurgical industry working from 1895–96 for Chicago Copper Refining Company, during 1896–1900 for the Anaconda Copper Mining Company and from 1901–10 as head metallurgist for Baltimore Copper Smelting and Rolling Company in Perth Amboy, New Jersey
Perth Amboy, New Jersey
Perth Amboy is a city in Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States. The City of Perth Amboy is part of the New York metropolitan area. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city population was 50,814. Perth Amboy is known as the "City by the Bay", referring to Raritan Bay.-Name:The Lenape...


Peirce-Smith converter process

The Peirce-Smith converter process, introduced in 1908, brought forth a revolution in copper converting
Converting (metallurgy)
Converting is a term used to describe a number of metallurgical smelting processes. The most commercially important use of the term is in the treatment of molten metal sulfides to produce crude metal and slag, as in the case of copper and nickel converting. Another, now uncommon, use of the term...

. In the metallurgical smelting
Smelting is a form of extractive metallurgy; its main use is to produce a metal from its ore. This includes iron extraction from iron ore, and copper extraction and other base metals from their ores...

 process, the standard vessel for conversion of molten sulfide
A sulfide is an anion of sulfur in its lowest oxidation state of 2-. Sulfide is also a slightly archaic term for thioethers, a common type of organosulfur compound that are well known for their bad odors.- Properties :...

 material to metal has long been the Peirce-Smith converter. Peirce-Smith converter process use long cylindrical horizontal chemical reactors where air is injected into copper matte
Matte (metallurgy)
Matte is a term used in the field of pyrometallurgy given to the molten metal sulfide phases typically formed during smelting of copper, nickel, and other base metals. Typically, a matte is the phase in which the principal metal being extracted is recovered prior to a final reduction process to...

. The converter is a rotatable, refractory-lined, horizontal steel drum with an opening at the centre of the top for charging and discharging and a row of tuyeres across the back. It has been stated that the process allowing an increase from 10 to 3000 tons of copper produced without relining the converters. This reduced the cost of copper converting from 15–20 USD to 4–5 USD.

Guggenheim process

The Guggenheim process is a method of chemical precipitation which employs ferric chloride and aeration
Aeration is the process by which air is circulated through, mixed with or dissolved in a liquid or substance.-Aeration of liquids:-Methods:Aeration of liquids is achieved by:...

 to prepare sludge for filtration. Cappelen Smith improved the leaching technology and applied it to the low grade copper ore deposits of the Guggenheim family
Guggenheim family
The Guggenheim family is an American family, of Swiss Jewish ancestry. Beginning with Meyer Guggenheim, who arrived in America in 1847, the family were known for their global successes in mining and smelting . During the 19th century, the family possessed one of the largest fortunes in the world...

 mining interests in the 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...

 open pit copper mine in the north of 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...

. The Guggenheim process first the exploitation
This article discusses the term exploitation in the meaning of using something in an unjust or cruel manner.- As unjust benefit :In political economy, economics, and sociology, exploitation involves a persistent social relationship in which certain persons are being mistreated or unfairly used for...

 of poor quality copper ore in the 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 starting in 1915. This mine is still today one of the world's largest copper resources.


In 1920 Cappelen Smith was honored with the gold medal of the Mining and Metallurgical Society of America for distinguished service in the art of hydrometallurgy
Hydrometallurgy is part of the field of extractive metallurgy involving the use of aqueous chemistry for the recovery of metals from ores, concentrates, and recycled or residual materials...

. In 1925, he was made a commander 1st Class in the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. He was made a member of the Royal Norwegian Scientific Society during 1926. He was also commander of the Chilean Al Merito-order and was awarded an honorary doctorate at Drexel Institute of Technology. In 1930, Cappelen Smith helped finance the installation of the Steinmeyer organ in the Nidaros Cathedral
Nidaros Cathedral
Nidaros Cathedral is a Church of Norway cathedral located in the city of Trondheim in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway. It was the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Nidaros from its establishment in 1152 until its abolition in 1537. Since the Reformation, it has been the cathedral of the...

for the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Stiklestad. (Norwegian:Olavsjubileet 1930th)

Primary Source

Saga in Steel and Concrete is posted in sections at: Norway-L archives 2003-04 Norway-L archives 2003-05

External links

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