Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Voices from the Past: Edward Chalmers, Reel-Maker-Turned-Miner

I ran across this bizarre article in the 30 April 1954 Charlestown Gazette about a reelmaker named Edward Chalmers of Glenville, CT, who claimed to find a uranium mine on government land. Reelmakers are an odd lot but this gentleman has to be the only one to ever stake claim to a uranium mine. Anyone know what kind of fishing reel Chalmers made?

Uranium Claim Staked On New York State Land

ALBANY, N. Y., April 29 — (INS) — An amateur prospector from Connecticut has staked a claim to New York State-owned lands which he believes are heavy with uranium deposits.

If the claim of a uranium find is borne out, it would be the first major source of uranium yet discovered in the Eastern United States.

The prospector. Edward Chalmers, of Glenville, Conn., filed 34 claims for 1,360 acres of the son Highlands, near Peekskill and about 35 miles north of New York City. The site is that of Camp Smith, used by the New York National Guard.

Chalmers, 44, is a machinist and fishing reel manufacturer, and his find was first reported by the Albany Times-Union.

Until the depth of the reported deposit is determined, its commercial feasibility will remain unknown. But Chalmers believes it could develop into a major source of uranium, a key element in production of atomic weapons.

Chalmers' Geiger counter reportedly recorded .064 per cent of equivalent uranium in the ore-bearing rock. This was said be higher than in that of deposits in the Colorado Plateau, where most of this country's uranium is mined.

Arthur J. McLoughlin, secretary of the State Land Office in Albany, confirmed the claims were filed with his office.

The State Land Board will hold hearings in New York City next Tuesday to decide whether Chalmers can make depth drillings.

Chalmers, reported "out-of-town," filed his first six notices of discovery on Sept. 25, 1953. On last Jan. 22, he filed 28 more notices, which amount to staking a claim.

Papers filed state he has "discovered a mine or deposit of uranium or component parts of derivation thereof."

Chalmers' attorney, George Hurlburr, of Greenwich, Conn., declared further information would have to await decision by the land board.

-- Dr. Todd

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