Before Wharton

Presence of copper at Gap, PA was known as early as 1718. Early attempts to mine copper included placing iron rods in the vitriolic springs and retrieving the rods after copper in the water had replaced the iron. Benjamin Franklin is said to have kept a glass container of the spring water to impress visitors. He would dip his pocket knife in coating it with copper.

Several attempts to produce copper at Gap failed for a variety of reasons: the depth of the deposit, the difficulty of extracting both the ore and the metal, the distance to markets, and flooding.

In 1849, a group of Philadelphia business men put together a syndicate, The Gap Mining Company, to mine copper and hired Charles Doble, an English miner, to superintend the mine. Some the material, called mundic, was being discarded. In 1852, Doble ordered testing of the mundic which proved to be millerite, NiS, and the focus of the mine turned to nickel.

Nickel has recently been used to make coins because of its durability and resistance to corrosion. The Swiss stamped the first nickel coins in 1850. The Philadelpia Mint begin making coins with nickel from Gap in 1857.

But by 1860 the same problems that had plagued previous attempts to mine at Gap forced this group to shut down and the mine flooded.