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Underground Mine Maps and the Development of the Butte System at the Turn of the 20th Century

Eric Nystrom
IA. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology
Vol. 37, No. 1/2, THEME ISSUE: IA in MONTANA (2011), pp. 97-113
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23757911
Page Count: 17
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Underground Mine Maps and the Development of the Butte System at the Turn of the 20th Century
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Abstract

Maps of underground mines are not simply pictures of now-inaccessible industrial spaces, but are also themselves artifacts, tools used in creating and using a visual culture of mining engineering during the period of mining's industrialization in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Butte, Montana was the site of major mine mapping innovations. This article describes how Anaconda Copper Mining Company engineers, including David W. Brunton and Horace V. Winchell, reconceptualized the form and content of traditional underground maps to highlight geological information. This new mapping system helped increase the importance of geological information to the company, which used it to find new ore and increase the predictability of underground production. Ultimately, the new system of mapping reframed the relationship between geology and mining engineering at Anaconda and showed the value of geological mapping to industrial mining enterprises.

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