Sunday, August 14, 2011

Collectible Parrot Silver and Copper Company

The Parrott Silver and Copper Co is located on Butte's Southern belt on the Gangon-Parrot lode. The mine was discovered in 1864 by Dennis Leary, George W. Newkirk and the Porter Brothers. It was named after the Hon. R. R. Parrott, a local attorney. The complex ore removed from the mine was carried by wagon to Corrine, Utah to be shipped by rail to eastern smelters.

Locally, experiments began to try to smelt the Parrot ore. Joseph Ramsdale and William J. Parks erected a small blast furnace in Town Gulch in 1866-67, but were unsuccessful. Charles E. Savage constructed a horse-powered arrastra that successfully treated the ore, but was financially a failure. In the fall of 1868 Dennis Leary and the Porter Brothers built a blast furnace that used a blacksmith bellows, but they were stymied by their lack of knowledge on metal fluxes. Discouraged, the mine owners looked elsewhere and the mine languished (Daly 1929; Warren 1896).

William Parks was unwilling to give up on the mine. He continued to pour his own labour and limited money into the shaft. Because he capitalized his operation with paychecks from his own day-labour, progress was slow. His efforts were justified when he reached the 155-foot level when he hit paying ore. He had discovered Butte's first copper mine. He was also very lucky; the Parrott turned out to be the only mine in Butte with copper ore above the 200-foot level. The mine was patented in May of 1879 by Dennis Leary, J. A. Talbott and Thomas Irvine.

From the time of Park's discovery, the mine continued to grow; by 1889 the Parrott Silver & Copper Company was removing 260 tons of copper/silver ore a day. The 3-compartment shaft was reported to be the best ventilated shaft in Montana.

The Parrott was one of Butte's top copper producers during the district's period of national significance, 1880 to 1920 (Montana Inspector of Mines Report 1889; 1893; 1897; 1900; 1905-06; Report of the Director of the Mine 1885; Gidel 1944).  The ore averages about 3% copper and carries fair silver and gold values. The mine has an antiquated smelter, idle since 1900, ores being reduced at the Washoe plant of the Anaconda. Company also owns copper refining works at Bridgeport, Conn., these also being antiquated and idle. Ores are running lower in grade than formerly, like all other Butte mines, and now average about 4% copper, with fair gold and silver values. Production was about 12,500,000 Ibs. fine copper for 1904.

For more information visit our web site,, or call George LaBarre at 1-800-717-9529.

George H. LaBarre Galleries - Collectible Old Stocks and Bonds and Old Stocks and Bonds A foreign antique stock and bond company.

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