RIP Corp

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

Episode Summary

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

Episode Notes

RIP Corp is a Charts & Leisure production. Find us at, or follow in places @ripcorpdotbiz for all your dead business needs. 

To support the show, please consider aligning yourself even more deeply with the brand, via our merch shop:

RIP Corp is written and hosted by Ingrid Burrington. Produced by Meghal Janardan and Mike Rugnetta. Associate producer, Taylor Behnke. Original music and sound design from Andrew Atkin and Michael Simonelli. Fact-checking from Matt Giles. Logo design by Beatriz Lozano and illustrations by Megan Mulholland. Executive produced by Jason Oberholtzer.