50 min

$2500 and a Dream: Fansteel and the History of Tantalum RIP Corp

    • History

The history of the commercial application of tantalum is a story of labor exploitation, suppressing militant organizing, state-backed development of global supply chains, the ups and downs of corporate raider capitalism, environmental damage and legal chicanery. It’s a story of technological development deeply bound up with, and used to perpetuate colonial violence. And it might have something to tell us about the current era of mineral supply chain anxieties in the United States. Our research into the history of the tantalum capacitor brought us to the U.S. National Archives, old electronics magazine collections, eBay, and ultimately to the subject of this episode: Fansteel

The history of the commercial application of tantalum is a story of labor exploitation, suppressing militant organizing, state-backed development of global supply chains, the ups and downs of corporate raider capitalism, environmental damage and legal chicanery. It’s a story of technological development deeply bound up with, and used to perpetuate colonial violence. And it might have something to tell us about the current era of mineral supply chain anxieties in the United States. Our research into the history of the tantalum capacitor brought us to the U.S. National Archives, old electronics magazine collections, eBay, and ultimately to the subject of this episode: Fansteel

50 min

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