Magazine article Sunset

From Pans to Stamp Mill, All the Tools of Colorado Mining

Magazine article Sunset

From Pans to Stamp Mill, All the Tools of Colorado Mining

Article excerpt

From pans to stamp mill, all the tools of Colorado mining

Hard-rock mining was Colorado's premier industry from early in its statehood until recently, when hard times hit. At the Western Museum of Mining and Industry on Colorado Springs, a new main building has expanded an already comprehensive collection of tools of the trade.

From small, crude hand implements to large sophisticated machinery, these tools were used to extract primarily gold and silver, along with iron, lead, zinc, and other minerals. One of the most impressive machines--an enormous Corliss steam engine with a 17-ton flywheel--dominates the new facility. A similar one once powered a mill operating 300 stamps--weights used to crush rock so that valuable elements could be extracted. Most exhibits are in working condition, and tour guides are happy to set them in motion. In a reconstruction of a hard-rock mine, they fire up noisy hammer drills to punch holes in granite boulders (the noise is deafening). …

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