Borates -- salt minerals -- were deposited in
ancient lake beds that uplifted and eroded
into the yellow Furnace Creek badlands.
Water dissolved th borates and carried
them to the Death Valley floor, where they
recrystallized as borax.
Borax -- blacksmiths used it, as have potters,
dairy farmers, housewives, meat packers,
and eve morticians. For centuries humans
have exploited borax for many important uses.
Chinese laborers recruited from
San Francisco scraped teh borax
off the salt flats and carried it by
wagon to the refinery.
They received $1.30 per day,
less lodging and the cost of
food they bought at the company store.