New Jersey

Edison's Folly

At the height of his fame and success, America's greatest inventor embarked on a disastrous project that cost him ten years and all of his fortune.

In 1889, the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Concentrating Company purchased a group of magnetite iron ore mines know as "The Ogden Group." Thomas Alva Edison, the famous American inventor, was the principal partner in this enterprise. Thomas Edison He envisioned great potential in converting the low-grade magnetite iron ore deposits into profitable commercial use. The location of this enterprise was Sparta, New Jersey. Only stone foundation remnants at various places off Edison Road (from Ogdensburg to Sparta) exist today.

Investing about $3.5 million in the project, Edison stripped the topsoil and vegetation and erected a large-scale system of tracks and equipment for mining the whole mineralized belt. Steam shovels and cableways were employed to load and transport the ore from the mine to the mill. The mill separated the ore from the rock by use of huge magnetic separators. Mining equipment Here, briquettes were formed so that the finished crushed magnetite could be easily smelted in a blast furnace. Edison had designed the entire system. It is a little known fact that one aspect of his inventive genius was mining and milling-technology application. 

The entire Edison project was ultimately unsuccessful, primarily as a result of the discovery of the rich Mesabi range iron ore deposits in Minnesota. While a financial disaster for Edison personally, the many inventions, improvements and experiences gained at the Ogden Plant of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Concentrating Company have benefited the industrial world to a great extent, especially in the area of cement manufacturing. Drawings of milling machinery used by the New Jersey Zinc Company still exist, bearing Edison's signature as designer or evaluator.



Magnetic Seperators