In 1852 Lucas developed a chemical process by which he could extract a green dye from the local green mineral called Serpentine. He was awarded a patent for this process, the first of many patents he received all relating to the geology of the area. He called the dye “Hampden Green” and with some partners formed the Serpentine Paint and Fire-Brick Company, serving as their chemist for the first year. A consistent and stable green dye which would hold up well on paper was much sought after at this time. For many decades the most popular green dye was “Paris Green” but it had been recently determined that chemicals in the dye, when brought into contact with mold, produced a poisonous arsenic gas. After he sold his interest in the company it was renamed the Hampden Paint and Chemical Company and relocated to Springfield, where it operated continuously until just a few years ago. The “Hampden Green” dye that Lucas developed was later used by the federal government to make the country’s first “greenbacks”. (Chester Historical) The Serpentine mine is a cut, not much evidence is left of any operation except the glowing turquiose of the stone. Found some very nice geodes and a grinding wheel in the brook here.

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