[D8704ADT], Letter from Arthur Coyle Payne to Thomas Alva Edison, October 20th, 1887


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[D8704ADT], Letter from Arthur Coyle Payne to Thomas Alva Edison, October 20th, 1887

Editor's Notes

[Letterhead: The Edison Lamp Co.] Just returned from the mountains of San Luis Potosi to find yours of the 23rd inst. Stopped at Villa Garcia and Pinos mines and obtained samples of ore from each, though they are practically the same class of rock; sending box of samples with this letter; pulverized ore is "tailings" from Candaleria mine of Pinos and is said to contain from 40-50% of the gold and 20-40% of the silver of ore from the mine; at Pinos and most of the rest of the country ore is worked by the "patio process," which which it is impossible to save more than 65-70% of the gold and 75-85% of the silver [he describes this process in detail]; tailings have gone through the process but have not been "amalgamated" to yield the gold and silver; often when put through the patio process a second time, tailings yield as much as the original ore; there are quantities of tailings in Mexico; if a machine or process could be created to extract the metal cheaply from the tailings or to get more metal from the original ore a lot of money could be made; mine operators appear willing to adopt a new cheap method; if ore separator will work tailings, I think I can sell a number or better still we could buy tailings at for little or nothing and work it for a good profit; coal is $27 per ton and wood from $10-$20 per cord; with tailings are rock from Molino of Cadaleria of Pinos and Providencia of Villa Garcia; have found a larger variety of Lechugilla from 12 to 20 inches in length, which under a microscope appears dwnse, silicious, and nearly round and uniform; it grows in the state of San Luis Potosi, but is difficult to obtain because it grows in high rocky places and also on an elevated plain in great abundance in Coahuila; can arrange for unlimited supply at town of Matt-huala [?], N.E. of San Luis Potosi or if reports are true from Coahuila, shipped by the International road to some town in Texas for extraction and shipment; it's impossible to get here a vessel large enough to boil any quantity and difficult to get a suitable stove or fireplace; could bring but a small sample in with me as it is a 200-mile ride on horseback; expect a mule in a day or two will be able to bring 20-30 pounds of leaves which we will frieght fo see if they can make it safely to the lab to have fibres extracted; have kept some small Lechugilla leaves in three stacks [?] and they are OK; by extracting fibre in the States, can avoid customs duties, which are as much as frieght charge to NY.###Send with this a sample of fibres extracted by natives for rope; known as "ixtle," it can be had in any quantity cheap; fibre is extracted from the inner and younger leaves; outer leaves yield harderl stiffer fibre; heard that a party in Tampico is shipping extracted fibre to Germany; don't know purpose; fibre extracted from smaller variety of Lechugilla found to be no good because too fine, nearly flat and resembling somewhat maguey; heard of deposit of Asphaltum in Tancarnequi [?] State of Tamaulipas but understand it is still being worked; think arrangements could be made to deliver it to lab below NY prices but not as cheaply as from California deposit.###Have been delayed by rains; rainy season now breaking up; railroad has been washed out several times, last week 17 miles of track and 200 ft bridge; Mexico City has been for nearly two month under a foot or two of water; am rushing this business along.




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Thomas A. Edison Papers, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University
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