Carborundum
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Museum Specimens
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Carborundum is actually the worlds very first artificially produced mineral. In the mid 1880’s an inventor/scientist
named Edward G. Acheson, who had worked as assistant manager of European interests for Thomas Edison,
started his own experimental laboratory in Monongahela City, Pennsylvania. He had a crazy notion that he could
produce man made diamonds by dissolving carbon into molten corundum (natural aluminum oxide) with intense
heat from electrical furnaces. His experiments failed to produce diamonds of course, but he actually produced a
substance that proved to be second only to diamonds in hardness and abrasive ability. Since this product came
from a compound of Carbon and Corundum, he named it “Carborundum”. Years later a chemical analysis
determined the substance to actually be silicon carbide.

Acheson and a group of investors from Pennsylvania started the “Carborundum Company” (he liked the sound of
the name) in 1891 in Monongahela City. They produced a line of silicon carbide abrasives. In 1893 Acheson
wanted to move to the Niagara Falls area and utilize the cheaper hydro-electric power available.  Andrew Mellon
financed the move and in return the Mellon family retained 20 percent ownership in the company throughout the next
century. The Niagara Falls Carborundum Company plant opened in 1895 with its newly built 1000 horsepower
furnace (746 KiloWatts). This new production ability was supported by and fueled by massive demands for
abrasives that were needed for production of the finely ground and machined parts required by American
Industries. The Carborundum Company was expanding. In 1899 Acheson opened his first international company
across the Niagara Falls in Canada
The slogan "Illegitimi Non Carborundum"--often translated as "Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down" --helped
make the Carborundum Company a household name during WWII

Carborundum also was the source for graphite lubricants. Acheson discovered that when “Carborundum” (silicon
Carbide) was superheated to 7,500 degrees Fahrenheit, the silica vaporizes and leaves behind artificial graphite.
The Carborundum specimens that are collected are manufactured in blast furnaces at abrasive factories. Most
pieces are small iridescent crystalline structures that are later crushed down to produce graded grit. One may rarely
find an old stock specimen that has been allowed to fully produce some stunning crystalline plates with detailed
geometric patterns on the surfaces of the plates…these are the collectors most highly treasured specimens. These
types of specimens were most commonly available in the 1940’s to the early 1950’s.

For more information on the Carborundum Company or Mr. Acheson's career we have provided the links below

http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/history2/89/Carborundum-Company.html

http://explorepahistory.com/hmarker.php?markerId=1-A-39B

This exceptional Rare Old Stock Specimen was a centerpiece cabinet display
(not for sale) in the old "Mineral Museum" in Follansbee, West Virginia. The
museum was operated by the respected rockhound Jim Smedley who made his
collections during the 1950's into the early 1960's. Jim wrote some excellent
articles in the Rocks and Minerals magazine during those years detailing his
family cross country and foreign country rock collecting trips filling the trunk of his
old Studebaker with as many specimens as the car would allow. We were lucky
enough to obtain some specimens from the old "Mineral Museum" collection from
Jim's daughter Jeanne. She told us that everyone who came into the Mineral
Museum was awestruck by this piece. We kept most of the specimens we got for
our personal collection. This is one magnificent piece from our Personal Collection
that we decided to share with our customers!
(specimen comes with original Mineral Museum ID tag)
This specimen came from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Specimen weighs 95.7oz or 5.98lbs (2.713kg)
and measures 8.4 x 5.7 x 5 inches (20.9 x 14.5 x 12.8cm)
Item # CARB08104275
Exceptional XL Rare
Carborundum Old Stock from
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

$226.00
Typical Modern Day Carborundum Specimens showing exceptional coloring
Exceptional Carborundum Specimens show Amazing Geometric Crystalline Plate Formations
Click on any photo for a larger view
Item # CARB02143312
Carborundum Old Stock from
Niagara Falls, New York

$42.00
This large Old Stock Moissanite (Carborundum) man made crystal specimen is in fantastic condition with
exceptional rainbow color flash. This specimen came from one of the furnaces of The Carborundum Factory
at Niagara Falls, New York. It is rare to find good quality specimens like this. Most of what is available now is
an inferior grade Carborundum specimen that is imported from China.

(This piece is much prettier in person than the these photos taken outdoors on an overcast day show)

This piece weighs 6.2 ox or 0.57 lb (262g) and measures 4.4 x 2.5 x 2 inches (11.1 x 6.5 x 5.1cm)