Harmony Borax Works, Death Valley
GPS: 36.4798173, -116.8754768
In 1881 Aaron Winters heard about the growing interest in the mineral borax also called “cotton ball” borate ore found in the salt flats on the floor of Death Valley. Winters later sold his Death Valley claim to William T. Coleman, a San Fransisco business man of some prominence, for the sum of $20,000. In 1882 Colman opened the Harmony Borax Works and using 20-mule teams pulling 10-ton borax wagons to haul the ore out of Death Valley from1883 and 1889.
When in full production the Harmony Borax Works employed 40 men who processed three tons of borax daily. In the summer months it was so hot the water used to process the borax would not cool enough for the suspended borax slurry to crystalize out. To eliminate this problem Coleman moved his work men to the Amargosa Plant near where the town of Tecopa is located today.
The plant closed in 1888 and in 1890 Francis Marion Smith acquired it, consolidated the reserves with his own and formed the Pacific Coast Borax Company. Then in March 13, 1906, he trade marked the name ”20-mule-team”.