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Matteson Invents Hydraulic Mining

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I was mining in the spring of ’53 at American Hill, about a mile west of Nevada City. We had a ground sluice and flume, and employed eight men. The bank was pretty high, and the danger from its caving considerable. One cave nearly caught me, wretching a pick from my hand. I had spoken to my partners about using the water against the bank under pressure. The danger impelled me to put my theory into practice. I conducted a hose, four inches in diameter and 40 feet long, out of rawhide with the hair on the outside….The nozzle was ¾ inch, made of sheet brass enclosed in a wooden jacket….When we put up the hydraulic apparatus we brought 17 inches of water and with it knocked down more dirt than our flume and the water would carry away….We used the apparatus three months, and created much interest….we averaged over 50 visitors a day….For quite a while the claim yielded four partners $50 profit per day each. (Edward Matteson, 1893)

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