[TUHS] nassau smelting was Re: Current Ownership of 3B/WECo Computer IPs

Douglas McIlroy douglas.mcilroy at dartmouth.edu
Tue Sep 12 05:58:20 AEST 2023

Way off topic, but too nostalgic to pass up. I was involved in
after-hours training courses and persuaded Bob Morris to organize the
first one ever to be held off campus, "Bell System with field trips".
The highlight of the series was Nassau Smelting and Refining. They
proudly told us about their new environmental consciousness: aqua
regia (used to reclaim gold) was now being adjusted to pH 7 before
being dumped into the Kill van Kull, and stack emissions of lead had
been reduced from  hundreds of pounds per year to eight.

The scene was almost straight out of Agricola. An enormous steel
jousting pole mounted on a backhoe was used to shove scrap copper and
live-cut tree trunks into a ferocious green-flaming furnace. Men in
moon suits and respirators puddled slag floating on open vats of
molten lead. A Dickensian crone snipped gold tips off the old relays
cradled in her lap. Clothes, including shoes, exchanged at the door of
the gloomy gold room, were collected periodically and thrown into the
aqua regia pots to extract every last milligram.

The only process that really deviated from Agricola was pyrolysis, for
reclaiming modern cable cladding. But he surely would have been
impressed by the mechanism for casting continuous copper bar and
collecting it on a giant spool. They delighted in telling about the
time the spool stopped turning while the copper feed continued,
filling the hall with an enormous tangle of 1" copper stock.


On Mon, Sep 11, 2023 at 1:47 PM Mark Seiden <mis at seiden.com> wrote:
> hi, old friends (and i mean that both figuratively and literally)
> the recent/continuing brouhaha involving lead sheathed cables made me wonder about
> nassau smelting and refining in staten island (a sub of WEco which ended up with Lucent)
> (and apparently another location at  W. 29th st which was a superfund site for a while.)
> wonderful chaplainesque photo:
> https://www.facebook.com/classicstatenisland/photos/a.286586221935407/516688818925145/?type=3
> also regarding the Staten Island location, quoting from
> https://www.silive.com/news/2020/02/former-nassau-smelting-site-sells-for-306m.html
> "The cleanup was to entail covering 450,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil with a thick, unbreakable plastic liner, as well as layers of clean soil.”
> (hah, what could go wrong with that?)
> On Sep 11, 2023, at 11:34 AM, Paul Winalski <paul.winalski at gmail.com> wrote:
> Regarding the possible Western Electric -> Lucent -> Nokia IP path,
> has anyone tried contacting Nokia's legal department and asking
> whether they think they own the rights to the 3B/WECo computer IP, and
> if not, do they know who does (or might) own it?
> -Paul W.

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