J. H. Drake


J. H. Drake


John Muir




Dec 4/06

Prof Jno Muir.

Martinez Cal

Dear Sir,

In the November issue of The World's Work I was much interested in what you are p[illegible]ported to have said concerning the petrified forests of Arizona. Over 20 years ago I undertook to invent machinery which would work that refractory mat[illegible]al. G[illegible] [illegible]e of Arizona and Judge Bryce of New Orleans had been induced by one Wm Adams (a cow boy) to visit the forest, and they contracted with the Railway for such as lay upon Railway lands, and filed mineral claims on such as lay upon good Lands. The brought a car load of the [illegible]eted material to St Louis, and at the [urgent?] [illegible]tation of Tiffany & C. New York I went to St Louis to see the material. I contracted with the p[illegible] to devise a way to cut and polish the material. At the polishing works of the Drake Company at Sioux Falls South Dakota I experimented for several months and finally succeeded. Col Frank C. H[illegible] of Phoenix A. [illegible]. succeeded to the Bryce [illegible] T[illegible]e interest and for nearly 20 years we have endeavored to make




a financial success of the undertaking- We were defeated by the [illegible]ness of the material. I fancy that we threw into the waste heap material which represented $25000, of exp[illegible]. This was because of hidden defects. We would undertake to saw a log say three feet in diameter, four or five cuts, and when almost through, the log, after two days labor, and much valuable a[illegible] used, down would go the slabs-. I am curious to know whether the other deposits discovered by you, were as badly broken as that near Adamana. I am [strongly?] of the opinion that the material we worked was sil[illegible]fied while the trees stood. That they submerged originally by Sili[illegible] waters. I have good reasons for this belief which were disclosed to me by six weeks stay in the forest, and the after working of the material. We m[illegible]y f[illegible]d material n[illegible] the tree roots worthy of our consideration. All [illegible] material came from what appeared near the tree tops. I have several beautiful specimens. We have ceased to work the material, and any information you wish to give us will not be for commercial purpose.
I wish you might see s[illegible] table tops I have polished as mirrors- Believe me Sincerely yours

J. H. Drake



Detroit, Mich.

Date Original

1906 Dec 4


Original letter dimensions: 28 x 21.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 16, Image 0421

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Owning Institution

University of the Pacific Library Holt-Atherton Special Collections. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.


2 pages



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