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PUDDLER

This is made by excavating a circular hole about 2 ft. 9 in. deep and, say 12 ft. in diameter. An outer and inner wall are then constructed of slabs 2 ft. 6 in. in height to ground level, the outer wall being thus 30 ft. and the inner 15 ft. in circumference. The circular space between is floored with smooth hardwood slabs or boards, and the whole made secure and water-tight. In the middle of the inner enclosure a stout post is planted, to stand a few inches above the wall, and the surrounding space is filled up with clay rammed tight. A strong iron pin is inserted in the centre of the post, on which is fitted a revolving beam, which hangs across the whole circumference of the machine and protrudes a couple of feet or so on each side. To this beam are attached, with short chains, a couple of drags made like V- shaped harrows by driving a piece of red iron through a heavy frame, shaped as a rectangular triangle.

To one end of the beam an old horse is attached, who, as he slowly walks round the circular track, causes the harrows and drags to so puddle the washdirt and water in the great wooden enclosure that the clay is gradually disintegrated, and flows off with the water which is from time to time admitted. The clean gravel is then run through a "cradle, "long Tom," or "sluice," and the gold saved. This, of course, is the simplest form of gold mining. In the great alluvial mines other and more intricate appliances are used but the principle of extraction is the same.


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