The History of Barton Mines Corporation

 

The History of BARTON Mines Corporation 
 

Henry Hudson Barton, 1830 - 1905
Henry Hudson Barton, 1830 – 1905

BARTON Mines was established in 1878 by Henry Hudson Barton, the founder and first President.

The original mine, located near the summit of Gore Mountain in the Adirondack Park of northern New York State, operated for 104 years. In 1982, the operations were moved to neighboring Ruby Mountain where the company still operates today. The mining operations were initially limited to the warmer months, although transportation of the ore was conducted year round with much of the work done by sleigh during the snowy Adirondack winters. In the early years, the raw garnet was hauled from North Creek to Philadelphia by train for crushing and processing.

 

 

Through the early 20th century, BARTON Garnet was used primarily as a sandpaper abrasive. There were many uses for sandpaper in those days, but the largest by far was woodworking. More than 130 years later, BARTON still provides high quality Adirondack Garnet to sandpaper manufacturers for the discerning woodworking craftsman.

The Company made major investments in the mining operations in the early 20th century and began year round operations in the late 1920’s. While the business was still dominated by the supply of sandpaper grade products, relations with glass manufacturers, such as Corning launched the development of a new and important market for the company — the grinding of glass and other products with very fine garnet powders. The glass grinding business grew during World War I and World War II as demand for lenses, sights and optics expanded.

BARTON experienced a boom in demand following World War II as new houses were built with picture windows that required grinding. This resulted in large volumes of special garnet powders sold to companies like PPG Industries, Libbey–Owens–Ford Company (LOF) and Owens-Corning. This market ended abruptly as float glass technology emerged in the late 1960s eliminating the need to grind glass. Fortunately for BARTON, color television was introduced to the world at roughly the same time. The Company’s relationships with the large glass producers proved beneficial as the Company worked with them to perfect the grinding and production of special glass screens and funnels for cathode ray tube televisions. Demand for television glass peaked in 1992 but remained strong through 2001 and finally came to a close in 2005.

BARTON operated the Gore Mountain mine for 104 years. In 1982, the operations were moved to neighboring Ruby Mountain where the Company still operates today. Garnet abrasive for the sandpaper industry peaked in 1982 and then began a slow, steady decline as new manufacturing technologies and synthetic abrasives made inroads into the market. Fortunately, a new US based cutting technology emerged in the mid-1980s — Abrasive Waterjet Cutting. BARTON developed cooperative relationships with the manufacturers of this new equipment and collaborated on the specifications and production of garnet abrasive products specifically for the Waterjet industry. The Abrasive Waterjet industry has continued to grow and provides both a domestic and international market opportunity for BARTON.

A second division of the business also began in the 1980’s — abrasives for Blast Media. Recognizing the potential for a high performance, safe blasting abrasive, BARTON invested in a new garnet mining operation in Western Australia in 1988. While no longer an owner, BARTON continues to import and distribute large quantities of alluvial garnet from Australia. The Blast Media division has realized significant growth with the increasing sophistication of blasting performance needs.

As both waterjet and blasting demand for garnet increased in the late 1990’s, BARTON expanded alluvial sourcing from India. Today, BARTON maintains a strong network of long term supply sources.

The Company’s most recent addition to the business is a line of parts and accessories for Waterjet Cutting equipment. BARTON distributes a wide range of parts for virtually every type of Waterjet machine as well as its own brand of select specialty products to the Abrasive Waterjet market.

BARTON has been a family-owned company for seven generations, and today is recognized as a world leader in the production of the highest-quality garnet abrasives the industry has to offer.