Instructions for Collecting, Testing, Melting and Assaying Gold

Oct 10, 2012 by

Instructions for Collecting, Testing, Melting and Assaying Gold by Edward Kent was originally published in 1848 and will really give you a taste of gold fever from the gold rush. What an amazing time that must have been. Truly, this is a really fascinating flash back to a different time.  Here are a few lines to give you a feel for this old book we’ve re-discovered:

“When the gold is plentiful, and found in such large grains as to be visible to the naked eye, and the small particles are not present, this extreme care in washing may be dispensed with, because the large grains require no further treatment after being washed clean ; but where the gold is in such a minute state of division as to be invisible without the aid of the microscope, it must be obtained from the residue by the process called amalgamation, or by melting in a crucible with a suitable flux ; but as these operations require some instruction in the use of chemical apparatus, I shall defer the description of them for the present, and devote the whole of the third chapter to that important subject..

BEST METHOD OF WASHING.
The most simple, and probably the best method of washing gold to separate it from earthy matters is practised in some parts of Europe, as follows: The washing is performed in a wooden bowl or dish, formed like a very flat cone, (Fig. 2,) and which is fro 15 to 18 inches in diameter, and 3 or 4 inches deep. It Fig. 2. requires some skill in order to perform this opera- tion to advantage. The dish filled with about 20 pounds of the earth or sand containing gold, is carried into a river, if possible, where the operator stands above his knees in water, protected with india rubber boots, which come up to the thighs. The dish is plunged into the stream, and the mixture stirred up with the hand ; the dish is dexterously whirled in such a manner, that at each gyration it is inclined at different angles, so as to allow the matters suspended in the water to flow out, while the gold remains at the bottom, in the angle of the cone. The washing is to be repeated till the gold is left clean; it is then transferred into a small iron dish and dried. If the above shaped bowls cannot be obtained, those sold at the wooden ware stores must be purchased. But those with conical bottoms are much better, as they retain the gold in a small space. Vessels of wood are preferred to metal, as the slight roughness of the interior prevents the little particles of gold from sliding out, and being buoyant, they can be left at rest on the surface of the water, when necessary, without danger of sinking.”

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