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7 U.S. firms that helped save the Chilean miners
Good old-fashioned American ingenuity played a big part in rescuing the miners stranded underground for ten weeks
 
The protective lenses that guarded the miners' eyes from the sun, seen here on the last miner rescued, were donated by Oakley, a California-based company.
The protective lenses that guarded the miners' eyes from the sun, seen here on the last miner rescued, were donated by Oakley, a California-based company.
Corbis / Claudia Vega

The extraordinary rescue of 33 Chilean miners from a chamber buried half a mile underground has captivated the world — and left companies from across America clamoring to highlight their roles in the successful rescue operation which The Wall Street Journal's Daniel Henninger has characterized as a "smashing victory for free-market capitalism." Here's who helped out:  

Pennsylvanian drill bit manufacturers...
Berlin, Pa.-based mining firm Center Rock offered the rescue operation the unique drill bit that created the 2,000-foot-deep hole through which the miners were lifted in a metal capsule. The town of Berlin may be "too remote to have cable television," says Joe Mandak at Business Week, but its drilling company is "at the center of the world's biggest news story."

... and drill rig builders
Another Pennsylvania company, Schramm, built the drill rig that drove the Center Rock bit into the earth. "Companies exist to make money," Schramm's vice-president of business development, Fred Slack, told USA Today, "but there's no greater satisfaction to the soul than saving somebody's life."

Kansan drill contractors
The Schramm rig was operated by Layne Christensen, a drilling contractor based in Mission Woods, Ks. The firm could be in for an enormous boost from their role in the drama, said brand strategist Adam Hanft, quoted by Portfolio. Layne Christensen "represents a segment of American manufacturing that has been battered and bruised. People want them to win."

Atlanta-based shipping experts

Seven shipments of mining equipment arrived at the Atacama rescue site care of United Parcel Service, the Atlanta-based delivery giant, which waived its fee. "We're just so happy, like everyone else around the world, to get those miners out of there," a spokesperson told Atlanta's 11 Alive.

Medical technology designers from Maryland
Zephyr Technology of Annapolis, Md., designed and built the chest harnesses that monitored the miners' vital signs as they were pulled to the surface — and had its Chilean partner send a physician to the site to analyze the data. "Of course there's publicity, but at the end of the day, we have the technology," the firm's Asher Gendelman told Business Week, and "they need it. It happens to be the right thing to do." 

Sock innovators from Virginia
Cupron, a Richmond, Va., firm specializing in copper-fiber socks that prevent infection, donated its specialized wares to the rescue mission. "We are deeply touched that our technology and products help people in need to improve their lives where and when it counts the most," said the firm's website.

Californian sunglasses manufacturers
To guard the miners' eyes from the sun (which they hadn't seen in over 10 weeks), Oakley donated dozens of pairs of its $400 "Radar" sunglasses with Black Iridium lenses. "Talk about product placement," says Kevin Voigt at CNN. Analysts reckon the company got "the equivalent of $41 million in television advertising time" as a result of their charitable act.

 

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