Near Furnace Creek in Inyo County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Harmony Borax Works
— Refining Borax —
Borax - blacksmiths used it, as have potters, dairy farmers, housewives, meat packers, and even morticians. For centuries humans have exploited borax for many important uses.
The Process: Workers heated
Winching ore carts up the incline, they dumped the ore into the boiling tanks.
Workers added carbonated soda. The borax dissolved, and the lime and mud settled out.
They drew off the borax liquid into the cooling vats, were it crystallized on hanging metal rods.
Borax will not crystallize at temperatures above 120 degrees, so Harmony Borax Works stopped operating during the summer. To keep the crystallizing vats cool the rest of the year, workers wrapped them with water-soaked felt padding, visible in the photograph.
Lifting the rods out, they chipped of the now refined crystallized borax. To produce “concentrated” borax, the repeated the process.
For later transport, the workers bagged and stored the refined or concentrated borax in a barn that stood behind you.
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this Industry & Commerce.
Location. 36° 28.789′ N, 116° 52.526′ W. Marker is near Furnace Creek, California, in Inyo County. Marker can be reached from Borax Mill Road near U.S. 190, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Death Valley CA 92328, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. White Gold (within shouting distance of this marker); Old Harmony Borax Works (approx. 0.3 miles away); Stephen Tyng Mather (approx. 1.3 miles away); Old Dinah (approx. 1.6 miles away); 20 Mule Team Wagon Train (approx. 1.6 miles away); Furnace Creek Ranch, Death Valley (approx. 1.7 miles away); Death Valley 49ers Gateway (approx. 2˝ miles away); Zabriskie Point (approx. 5.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Furnace Creek.
More about this marker. These panels are located on the walking path around Harmony Borax Works exhibit.
Also see . . . Borax and the 20-mule team in Death Valley - DesertUSA. he heyday of the Harmony operation was from 1883 to 1888. During those years, the teams ran like clockwork, completing the 330-mile round trip between the Harmony Borax Works and the railhead in about 20 days, despite the difficult terrain. One team loaded and left the works every four days. (Submitted on January 31, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 9, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 31, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 328 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on January 31, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. 11, 12. submitted on November 6, 2020, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.