Tools Used In The California Gold Rush  

When James Wilson Marshall discovered a small pea shaped yellow metal glittering in the American River, little did he realize that a new chapter was being crafted in America’s history. The Gold Rush as it is famously called witnessed thousands of whites moving over to California in search of the metal. Numerous tools were invented for mining in the lands.

Although initially, a large number of people found gold in the streams and shallow riverbeds by using their hands to dig a few inches deep, later on they had to invent instruments that would aid in mining the hard rocky surfaces. The types of instruments used were:

Rocker/Cradle: This was one of the first instruments used for mining gold. People would use the rocker to remove large amounts of gravel from the rivers. The gravel used to collect on the top part of the rocker. The people would then pour water and simultaneously move the handle of the rocker back and forth (this would look similar to the rocking of a cradle). In the process, the lighter materials would fall down and heavier particles like gold would collect on the rocker.

Stamp Mills: These were aimed at mining in deeper rocky surfaces. Huge rocks were placed in between the bins. These bins had crushing arms that would break off the rocky chunks into smaller pieces. Gold pieces if any would be collected from the powdered remains.

Arrastre: This had an axle in the centre and rudimentary wooden spokes radiating from the center. Each spoke also had pieces of quartz. These spokes were pulled in a circular fashion. Animals were used for this purpose. The quartz would then hit the rock bed, powdering it. Gold would then be searched through the powder.

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Tools Used In The California Gold Rush




American History (1803-1849) :

When Did The Gold Rush End ?      The gold rush created a new chapter in American history. When James Marshall discovered a small pea shaped glittering yellow metal on the American River in 1848, little did he realize that the silent town of California would witness an influx of thousands of whites in the years to come. More..




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