Back when gold mining and gold mining fever hit the United States, some might say that was the mid 1800’s, life was hard, in fact life was a lot harder than a gold nugget. There was no indoor plumbing or fancy electricity in the walls or even a radio to catch a ball game on. That being the case, everybody had to pull his or her weight and pitch in to get anything done. And, if you were going to get a gold mining done, you needed some serious weight pullers:

Gold Mining Weight Puller #1: The Canary

The canary may not have been the largest of the gold mining animals, and was definitely the smallest, and even had other birds stand in from time to time, but nevertheless the canary pulled a lot of weight.

a gold mining canary
The Canary Participated In Gold Mining And Other Types Of Mining. Some Canaries Gave All.

Mining in general and gold mining in particular has dangers. One always apparent danger in a mine is the fact that you are underground. Being underground means that air does not circulate, and fresh oxygen is pretty much absent. In addition to this gold mining danger is the fact that explosive gasses and deadly gasses build up during the natural course of gold mining. So if there is no air to breathe, and the air that is in the mine is toxic and or explosive, one involved in gold mining might want to know these things. Enter the canary.

Birds like the canary have high respiration rates, that is, they breathe a lot. In addition to breathing constantly, canaries are quite sensitive to air quality and air mixtures. Because of these reasons, a small bird will poison quickly in poor gold mining conditions and die. When the dies, it is time to leave the mine. If the canary stops singing but looks okay, chances are the foreman will tell you to keep swinging the pick.

A Gold Mining Pick
Picks Like This Were More Common In Gold Mining Than Canaries.

Spot number one goes to the gold mining canary because even though the canary could not pull much weight or pick much gold, it was the canary’s job to die. Rest in peace little gold mining canary.

a canary gold mining
A Dead Canary Meant That Gold Mining Was Over For The Day.

Gold Mining Weight Puller #2: The Donkey Ass Mule Horse

Before there was a Jeep, there was a horse. If there were Jeeps and Dodges back then, you would have seen them at all of the gold mining camps. But gold miners had horses and the derivatives. As it turns out for gold mining, a pack animal like a mule is better for gold mining chores and is easier to keep than a horse as well. For this reason, many gold mining newbies arrived on a horse, but would ride out on a mule or a donkey or an ass.

A mule is a combination of a male donkey and a female horse. I can see this happening in a gold mining camp. A mule is said to be hardier than a horse, but less obstinate or quarrelsome as a donkey. A donkey is also known as an ass, and is a domesticated member of the horse family. Just how domesticated however, is a question since donkeys tend to prefer their wants to the wants of it’s “owner”.

old number seven was a trapping donkey, not a gold mining donkey
Perhaps The Most Famous Donkey Was Old Number 7, Though He Was A Trapping Donkey, Not A Gold Mining Donkey.

If a female donkey mates with a male horse, the offspring is called a “Hinny”. Perhaps you never knew this or needed to know this, but these were the things you needed to know if you were going to be successful at gold mining in the 1800’s.

Gold Mining Weight Puller #3: The Ox

These heavyweights were not the norm on the gold mining scene. But if you had a big gold mine and a lot of miners and a lot of gold mining going on, then there was a lot of weight to move. If you have a lot of weight to move in the 1800’s you needed oxen.

Sometimes In Gold Mining You Need Something Bigger Than A Donkey
Sometimes In Gold Mining You Need Something Bigger Than A Donkey.

An ox, or oxen if you have more than one ox, is a bovine animal of relative to the cow. The ox is an animal that early heavy construction could not have been accomplished without, much less gold mining. For the heaviest of jobs, teams of two oxen would yoked together until twenty or thirty oxen were pulling together. This is the kind of power you need for gold mining.

gold mining oxen teams
This Twenty Oxen Team Was The Heavy Equipment Of It’s Day. Oxen Teams Like This were Used In Gold Mining.

The oxen were intelligent too. Even yoked together in teams, they would steer by voice commands. Back meant back up. Haw means to go left, and Gee means to turn right. Whoa of course means stop, and Get Up means go. An ox team driver is called a “Teamster” or a “Bullocky”. You don’t have to know any of those things today, but this was standard gold mining terminology back in the day.

a gold and white ox getting a kiss. this is not a gold mining ox.
Apparently Ox’s And People Get Along Well. Who Knew.

Today you don’t need a canary or an ass or an ox to acquire gold, all you need is a relationship with ITM Trading. ITM Trading has a convenient online store as well as highly experienced representatives available by telephone.