Members Only Area
Bookmark and Share
sidebar menu icon


ANTIMONY SMELTER. The largest antimony smelter in the world in 1945 was just north of Laredo in Webb County. Initially it had been at San Luis Potosí, Mexico, operated by a British firm owned by the Cookson family and founded in 1704. The duty placed on foreign antimony in the 1920s had encouraged domestic production to free the United States from dependence on Chinese antimony supplies. At that time, the smelter company moved north along the railroads to remain as near as possible to the source of Mexican ore, which was produced chiefly at San Luis Potosí and Oaxaca, and reestablished the smelter at Laredo. Known for a time as Lead Industries, this firm by 1930 had become the Texas Mining and Smelting Company. H. P. Henderson, the first president of this company, was succeeded by V. L. Kegler in 1939. At its Laredo location the smelter burned natural gas and Alabama coke. During World War II, when the British government exchanged its assets in America for weapons and supplies, Texas Mining and Smelting became an American firm known as National Lead, which operated the smelter until it ceased production in 1976. In 1977 the original British firm, then known as the Cookson Group, once again acquired the Laredo operation. At that time Cookson (under the name Anzon, Limited) produced antimony and zircon in Europe. The Laredo operation became Anzon American and later Anzon, Incorporated. Among the company's products is an antimony oxide known as TMS (from Texas Mining and Smelting Company).

John H. McNeely and Diana J. Kleiner

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

John H. McNeely and Diana J. Kleiner, "ANTIMONY SMELTER," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.