Edison’s Magnetic Low-Grade Iron Ore Processing Inventions Might Have Succeeded

(p. 193) Edison took great pleasure in the novelty of the technical challenges and in the opportunity to redeem his reputation as a savvy businessperson, even though redemption never came. The low-grade iron ore in New Jersey did not have a competitive chance once huge reserves of high-grade ore were discovered in the Mesabi Range of northeastern Minnesota; the Mesabi ore was easily mined near the surface and close to economical shipping on Lake Superior. Well after the first Mesabi mine opened in 1890, Edison remained pitiably hopeful about his Ogden mine, even when objective facts made the future of its business appear bleak to anyone else. In 1897, when failure was inevitable, he refused to acknowledge the facts. Edison wrote a colleague, “My Wall Street friends think I cannot make another success, and that I am a back number, hence I cannot raise even $10,000 from them, but I am going to show them that they are very much mistaken. I am full of vinegar yet.”

Source:
Stross, Randall E. The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World. New York: Crown Publishers, 2007.

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