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Want To Mine Like A 49er? Four Pieces Of Mining Equipment Needed To Recreate Gold Rush History

Mining is a very old profession indeed. However, there are vast differences between modern mining and mining the same way that the gold rush miners of 1849 did. If you are interested in recreating this piece of history, or you want to start a mining adventure attraction near some old mines, you will need a few vital pieces of historically accurate equipment.

The Pickaxe

The gold rush miner's pickaxe helped him chisel away rock inside a mine. He or she would spend long hours, first in the hot sun, and then inside a rough-hewn cavern, chipping away at rock faces to look for threads of gold. What most amateur miners at the time did not realize is that they had to dig deeper to find precious metals. However, persistence and deep digging sometimes paid off, which is why the pickaxe was a recommended tool of the trade then (and still is now).

The Pan

Large, flattened pans were used to sift gold fragments out of the running rivers in areas where gold was suspected to trickle down from rocks above. There are panning expedition companies still, which frequently provide tourists with the opportunity and a pan to sift through riverbeds and water to find treasure. It is an invaluable tool for recreating history or touristy mining adventures.

The Short-Handled Shovel or Spade

For softer rock and soil, old-time miners used a short-handled shovel or spade to dig. The edges of the blades of these tools were effective and chipping carefully around a vein of gold or silver too. The shovel or spade had a short handle so that it could be carried easily on the back of a mule, donkey or pack horse and would not frighten the animal or get caught on brush if the animal bolted and ran from camp. (Old-time miners also used these tools for digging holes for their bathroom business, but you do not have to get that realistic in your reenactments or tourist adventures.)

The Rope

Tough jute cord woven into thick ropes supplied miners with a way to secure themselves to the surface when exploring deep caves. It also helped them find their way back out of caves when they got lost. In a pinch, rope thrown over a branch could act as a brace or pulley when the miner needed to lift something heavy off of or out of the ground. Rope today also helps modern miners lift and lower equipment into the caverns. If you choose to carry some rope for you during your explorations, be sure it is very tough, thick and can hold onto you if you use it to climb a rock face or lower yourself into a cavern.

For more information about modern mining equipment, contact Don Leslie Supply, Inc. or a similar company.