Mining zinc ore, circa 1910.
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Three men and one male child are at work inside of a mine.

Credit: Library of Congress

To exploit the abundant supply of zinc ore in the Saucon Valley, Samuel Wetherill organized the Pennsylvania and Lehigh Zinc Company in 1853. Built on the banks of the Lehigh River just south of Bethlehem, PA, Wetherill's zinc plant remained in operation until 1911. When Lehigh University opened in 1866, the first chemistry professor was Charles Meyer Wetherill, Samuel's first cousin.

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