We Have an Unusual Gold Pan—An Amalgamating Pan!-It seems true that objects have....
more meaning once you know at least some of story that goes with them.
At our museum in the mining exhibit is a gold prospecting pan that many of us have paid little attention to. At least I didn’t until my wife, Dianna, and I visited the museum in Angel’s Camp. The docent there showed us an old, bent up, rusty gold pan with a copper bottom and tin rim of which he was very proud. According to him, they are extremely rare today.
As most of you know, a regular gold pan is just made out of tin. He said that many of the museums in gold country (along Highway 49) would like to get their hands on one of these copper bottom gold pans. They can’t find them. I didn’t tell him that we have such a gold pan at our museum that is in excellent shape. Anyway, he said that gold prospectors would spread mercury over the copper bottom of the pan to get more gold out of their find-- reminiscent of the stamp mill process. Who would have thought that some of these prospectors were playing around with mercury while standing in a stream panning for gold? But apparently they did.
So come by the museum and take a new look at our rare, in excellent condition, amalgamating gold prospecting pan. Sometimes, things that at first glance are not so impressive, turn out to be much more so once we know more about them. There are a lot of items at the museum that fit that category. Come by and see all of the fantastic exhibits at the museum.
Also, we are looking for a retort. They were used to separate the gold from the mercury. Please let us know if you know where we might find one.
---By Ron Anderson