PICKANDS MATHER & CO. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
PICKANDS MATHER & CO., a chief supplier of raw materials to the steel industry and one of 4 major ore houses in the U.S. at one time, had its headquarters in Cleveland. The company started in 1883 when SAMUEL MATHER† joined Jay Morse and Col. JAMES PICKANDS† in a partnership to deal in pig iron and coal, with initial interests in 2 small mines in upper Michigan and a wooden steamer. Under Mather's leadership, the firm became a sales agent in the new iron ranges of Wisconsin and Minnesota during the 1880s and 1890s, and to facilitate its business, Pickands Mather began to manage Great Lakes docks and acquire steamship companies. In 1913 the company organized all of its vessel companies into the Interlake Steamship Co., the second-largest fleet operating on the Great Lakes, with 39 carriers. In the early 1900s the company acquired interests in blast furnaces, and by the 1920s it had become the second-largest producer of iron ore in the country. In 1929 the firm combined its 4 blast-furnace companies into the Interlake Iron Corp. and extended its coal interests beyond southwestern Pennsylvania into West Virginia and Kentucky, which produced a total of 9 million tons annually. Under the guidance of Henry Dalton and Elton Hoyt II, Pickands Mather was among the first to research taconite in the late 1930s, and in the 1940s it formed Erie Mining Co. in Minnesota to develop taconite pellets. It became a commercially successful venture by the mid-1950s. Simultaneously, Pickands Mather gained interests in Canada's iron fields, and by the 1980s, the firm produced 20% of all iron pellets in both countries. Thirteen years after the company incorporated in 1960, it became part of Moore McCormack Resources, Inc. Under Moore McCormack, Pickands Mather managed 5 iron and 7 coal mines in North America as well as Australia and transported 12.5 million tons of cargo annually on the 11 vessels of its Interlake Steamship Co. Although Pickands Mather's iron ore segment had an operating profit of $10.4 million in 1985 on sales of $104 million, LTV Steel's bankruptcy filing in July 1986 persuaded Moore McCormack to sell its Pickands Mather stock to CLEVELAND-CLIFFS INC. for the equivalent of 2 million barrels of oil and gas reserves Cleveland Cliffs owned. The transfer was completed 31 Dec. 1986.
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