MP-1979.111.124 | Pumping Plants, Nome Beach, Alaska, 1900

Pumping Plants, Nome Beach, Alaska, 1900
Edwin Tappan Adney
1900, 20th century
Silver salts on film - Gelatin silver process
16 x 21 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  event (534) , History (944) , Industry (942) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

In the early stages of the gold rush, most of the work was done by muscle power, and very little equipment was required. Before long, however, heavy equipment began to be used in the goldfields. The pump in this picture is bringing water (perhaps from the ocean, since this is at Nome) to a very long sluice-box. Several miners are shovelling sand and dirt into the box. The strong current of water will carry the sand out the end of the box, and every so often the water will be shut off and the gold recovered. Machinery made it worthwhile to process ground that contained very little gold, but the cost put it out of reach of the ordinary miner. Not long after the rush ended in 1899, large companies began to take an interest in mining in the region.

Source : Off to the Klondike! The Search for Gold [Web tour], by William R. Morrison, University of Northern British Columbia (see Links)

  • What

    This view shows the heavy equipment used for gold mining: steam-driven water pump, sluice-boxes. What is the machine on the left? A grindstone?

  • Where

    The equipment is set up on the beach at Nome, Alaska.

  • When

    The miners worked from dawn to dusk during the long summer days.

  • Who

    These miners have not been identified: they may be partners, but are more likely labourers working for the claim owner.