Arthur R. Wilfley, inventor of the Wilfley Table, devoted his entire life to mining, making the rise from working the stopes and drifts of Kokomo, Colorado, to owning one of the best known mines in the Rockies.
He began devoting time and energy to inventing devices that would aid the mining industry. He knew that the enormous piles of tailings held certain amounts of gold and silver. He also knew that millions of tons of ore lay waiting to be mined if only technology could make it profitable to do so. He began developing methods that would make it not only possible, but profitable to process large bodies of low-grade ores.
He introduced the Wilfley Table, which consisted of a sand table that separated heavy mineral particles from lighter gangue by means of numerous longitudinal riffles. The device greatly increased recovery of gold, silver, and other metals and was soon utilized world-wide.
Wilfley then turned to centrifugal pumps. He knew there was a huge market for a reliable device that could handle the heavy tailings at many mills. This concept gave birth to the Wilfley Packingless Pump, which operated with a unique centrifugal seal. Its design for handling sands, slurries, and limes gained immediate acceptance at the mills and served as the cornerstone for the A.R. Wilfley and Sons, Inc. By 1924, Wilfley had a total of 24 patents to his name.