Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Beginnings of the Sterling Borax Co.

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A four-foot ledge of borax has been opened southwest of the Robertson Ranch. The company has ten men at work at present and will develop the same to the full extent.

There is much excitement over the Borax discoveries near the Robertson Ranch. There is said to be a whole mountain of it, enough to buck "Borax Smith" in good shape. Emil Gipp and Henry Stroh are working there. The owner of the property has thirty men at work and they are building a road to Lang Station.

There are now over sixty men and teams employed in opening the new borax mines near the Robertson Ranch. The borax is of the best quality and a large ledge. The company is building a short road to Lang, six miles all down grade.

$1,000,000 Corporation Acquires Vast Death Valley and Acton Properties.

F.M. Smith, the borax king, is to have serious opposition in the field of commerce over which he has so long held solitary sway. A new $1,000,000 corporation known as the Sterling Borax Company, has been formed and has acquired valuable properties in Death Valley, close to those which have yielded a fortune for Smith. It was announced that while the new company had not been organized for the express purpose of fighting Smith, it was intended as a formidable rival.

The new concern comes into existence in the form of a consolidation of the American Borax Company, the Stauffer Chemical Company, and affiliated operations. The merger includes the Brighton Chemical Company, which is a branch of the American Borax Company, and the Frazier Borax Company, and Thomas Thorkildson [sic] and Company of Chicago, both of which in the past have been connected with the Stauffer Company.

At the very outset the new corporation has clashed with the Smith interests, both endeavoring to purchase the Borax Properties, Limited, an English concern, which recently took over the Palm Borate company.

The British company has begun the erection of a $75,000 plant in Southern California to treat boric acid ore. When completed the plant will be able to treat 100 tons of ore in a day. By its acquisition either company would be able to add great strength to its position.

The Sterling Company has mines ten miles west of Acton, near the Robertson ranch, mines also in Ventura County and Death Valley.

The Sterling promoters claim that its fields are as large and rich as those owned by Smith. Its main office is located in the east. The directors, who are for the most part eastern capitalists, are as follows: Thomas Thorkildson, Charles de Guigne of San Francisco, John Stauffer, H. Matther [sic: presumably Stephen T. Mather is intended?], and E. Dawes and Myler of Pittsburg [sic].

The borax industry of California has been an extremely profitable one for the last twenty years. The production for 21 years has been 767,469,000 pounds, valued at $17,456,334. The production in 1890 was a little more than 6,000,000 pounds. In 1907 it had increased to 106,000,000 pounds.

Webmaster's note.

At this time, R.E. Nickel, publisher of the monthly Acton Rooster, was living in Berkeley, Calif. The local writer, editor and office manager was L.K. Rayburn.

Transcribed by historian Meryl Adams in "Heritage Happenings" (1988:137-138).



History/Description (CA Div Mines 1954)


Sterling Borax Story (Keebler)


Stephen Mather Story (Shankland)


Scorza Video 2007


Points of Interest


L.A. Times 1907


Origins 1907-1908


Orig. Corp. Seal 1908


Multiple Views


Mine, Mill, Camp (Mult.)


Inside Shaft ~1984 x2


Tick Canyon Howlite in Smithsonian 2014


Modern Times

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