Titanic Victim Benjamin Guggenheim - Mining Machinery Executive
Benjamin Guggenheim Portrait Photograph - He was a Victim of the Titanic Disaster. © 1912 Marceau, NY. Power (30 April 1912) p. 643. GGA Image ID # 10d4c931a8
Benjamin Guggenheim, who went down with the “Titanic,” was born in Philadelphia in 1865, is one of the younger of the seven sons of Meyer Guggenheim, who have become so prominent in the mining and metallurgical industries.
In the early 1880s, Meyer Guggenheim became a part owner of the A. Y. & Minnie mine at Leadville, Colo., which turned out to be profitable, and in 1885 Benjamin, just out of school, was sent to it to begin his business career and to look after the interests of his father, being given a position in the office.
During this period he became acquainted with global mining and smelting conditions, especially from the commercial standpoint, and in 1888 through Edward Holden, became interested in the smelting business, and in turn, interested his father and brothers in Philadelphia.
This was the inception of the Philadelphia Smelting & Refining Co., which erected works at Pueblo, Colo. In a very short time the business passed wholly into the hands of the Guggenheim family, several members of which were sent to Pueblo to learn it.
For two or three years the works were not very successful, but before long all of the difficulties were cured and the brilliant commercial career in this business, with which all are familiar, was inaugurated.
The great success began in 1892, when the importation of Mexican lead ore having been checked by the McKinley tariff, the Guggenheims immediately appreciated the possibilities of smelting in Mexico and erected a plant at Monterey, which was later followed by one at Aguascalientes.
Later a refining plant was erected at Perth Amboy, N. J., under Benjamin Guggenheim’s superintendence. After the smelting interests were consolidated he retired from active work for a time, passing two years in Europe.
Returning to this country, he entered into the mining-machinery business in 1903, organizing the Power & Mining Machinery Co., which built significant works at Milwaukee.
In 1906 this concern was merged with the International Steam Pump Co., in which Benjamin Guggenheim was successively a director, chairman of the executive committee and president.
This continued his primary business interest, and the visit to Europe, from which he was returning, was made to inspect and extend the work done through its foreign agencies.
-- The Engineering and Mining Journal, 27 April 1912, p. 827
The first definite information received of the death of Benjamin Guggenheim whose life was lost in the going down of the ill-fated “Titanic” on Apr. 14, was received by his widow in a message from Mr. Guggenheim, delivered by an assistant Steward who was with him until a few minutes before the “Titanic” sank. The message was: “If anything should happen to me, tell my wife in New York that I’ve done my best in doing my duty.”
In these words lies the keynote of Benjamin Guggenheim's whole life.
Born on Oct. 26, 1865, the fifth of the seven sons of Meyer Guggenheim, the founder of the great firm having mining interests all over the world, young Benjamin, at 20, took charge of the company's mining properties in Leadville, Colo., and to his shrewdness and energy is largely due the concern’s success in after years.
Later, he came East and managed a plant at Perth Amboy, N. J.
In 1903, Mr. Guggenheim erected a large machinery plant in Milwaukee, Wis., which was later merged in the International Steam Pump Co., of which he was elected president in 1909. With his brothers, he was also the controlling factor in the American Smelting & Refining Co.
Today, the International Steam Pump Co.'s products are limited only by the confines of industry in this country and abroad. It has seven plants, each large in itself, which operate in the United States, and one in England, at Simpson. The company employs 10,000 men.
Mr. Guggenheim married Miss Floretta Seligman, a daughter of James Seligman, the banker, who survives him with three daughters.
-- Power, 30 April 1912, p. 643