Gold mining gear, the rocker

A Cradle by Pearson Scott Foresman

Panning gold was slow work and very early in 1848 Isaac Humphrey, a miner who’d been at the gold finds in the mountains of Georgia in the 1830’s, introduced a new device that sped things up a great deal. Called a rocker or a cradle, it resembled a baby’s bed. At the upper end was a hopper with moderately high sides and covered with a sheet metal or rawhide sieve with holes a half-inch in diameter. Here ore bearing soil would be shoveled in then washed down the body where the gold would collect behind three or four wooden cleats along the bottom, with the last one at the open lower end. Underneath curved pieces of wood were fastened much like on the bottom of a rocking chair while a perpendicular pole nailed near the head was used to rock the apparatus, thus helping the sorting process.




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