United Smelting and Refining Company

 

In late 1889, Anton Eilers began to talk to the big mining companies about a possible merger; however, the enormous financial challenge a merger of this magnitude would create, terminated the talks.  He spoke to Samuel Hauser about a possible merger.

On July 22, 1890, Eilers, Hauser and others incorporated the Union Smelting and Refining Company in New Jersey.  Two months later, the name was changed to the United Smelting and Refining Company.

Anton Eilers was named managing director

Two months after the merger took place, problems erupted between Eilers and Hauser.  Eilers had been having ongoing problems with the quality of the coke and coal being supplied by the Livingston Coke and Coal Company, a subsidiary of the Helena and Livingston Smelting and Refining Company.  Due to the inferior nature of the product, Eilers reluctantly signed a contract with Livingston Coke and Coal.  In retaliation, presumably for his reluctance to sign the original contract, Hauser sent ore from one of his other mines to Washington for smelting, rather than to Great Falls as had been promised.  One year later, Eilers broke the contract and signed a six month contract with another supplier.  Hauser was incensed and named Eilers "the most selfish, insincere man that I ever met".  He characterized the Great Falls smelter as valueless and demanded that Eilers be relieved of his duties as managing director.

By late 1895, Anton Eilers resigned as managing director.

In 1899 the United Smelting and Refining Company sold their assets to the American Smelting and Refining Company, which was incorporated in New Jersey.  Anton Eilers was a director on the initial board of trustees.  To supply the Great Falls smelter, mine leases were purchased in the Neihart/Barker area.  Unfortunately, shipments were not enough to keep the smelter open and it closed indefinitely in 1901.

 

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