November 25, 2010

USA, 1867 - 1902: Neumann's Record

Bernhard Heinrich Neumann (1867-1953) worked as a practical chemist (1877/8) and began studies in electrochemistry around 1890.

His monograph,
Die Metalle, Geschichte, Vorkommen, Gewinnung Statistik, 1903 includes a table with US trade prices quoted in German Marks. The original data is from two American sources, "M. Raynor" and the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia.  Herr 'M. Raynor' is in fact
H.M. Raynor of New York.

The original price-table in USD$ was published by Charles Bullman, in an article of The Mineral Industry, Vol. 1, 1892.   Bullman's (problematic) data originates in Raynor's invoice list from Johnson & Matthey, in Pound Sterling.  Implicitly, prices were in US Gold, not German Marks nor (fluctuating) US paper currency, and herein lies one part of the error.

Bullman apparently used one forex rate and added a 3% shipping cost.

Citation: The Mineral Industry, Vol. 1, 1892, p.389
For this column I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. HM Raynor, the pioneer of New York in the platinum trade, who courteously gave me the invoice prices of his imports of plate and sponge from 1867 to 1890. To these prices three per cent is added...

Citation: Die Metalle: Geschichte, Vorkommen und Gewinnung, nebst ausführlicher ... By Bernhard Neumann (1904) p.367

Geo. F. Kunz's April 1898 'Lecture to the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia' : 
(USA) Platinum Wire, 1883-1898

Citation: Journal of the Franklin Institute, Vol. 146 ; Franklin Institute (Philadelphia, Pa.: 1898) p.210.

Bullman's calculated exchange rate USD$ 4.865 per Citation: Coinage laws of the United States, 1792 to 1894, with an appendix of ... US Senate Committee on Finance (1894)

Johnson & Matthey refining cost, per Troy Oz. Pt = £ 0.0625 (USD$ 0.30)
Small firm's refining cost, per Troy Oz. Pt = £ 0.1250 (USD$ 0.61)

Citation: Economic mining: a practical handbook for the miner, the metallurgist... ; Charles George Warnford Lock (1895) p.587

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