Mining Jargon: Long Tom
Saturday, July 31, 2010 at 8:59PM
Jo Giessner

1850 April 15, Sacramento- American ingenuity, plus the universal desire to get more gold faster, is bringing about the introduction of a new "machine" for washing gold in the placer mining areas.

It is the "Long Tom," a box about 10 or 12 feet long and open at the top and ends. Across the bottom are placed bars, called riffles. A stream of water is passed through the box, and dust bearing dirt is shoveled into it. The heavier gold particles sink to the bottom, and are caught by the riffles.

More of the finer bits of gold are lost by the process, but it offers the great advantage over the popular cradle of permitting the speedy washing of larger quantities of earth continuously by a group of miners working together. As a result, it is being popularly adopted in the gold region although the miners pan and the cradle are still the standbys of prospectors and diggers who prefer to work alone.~

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