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Crucible for smelting gold, 19th century

Date: 19th century
Dimensions:
Overall: 101 x 85 x 85 mm, 0.35 kg
Medium: Clay
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Crucible
Object No: 00027627
Place Manufactured:Ballarat

User Terms

    Description
    This clay crucible is cone shaped with a flat base and was used for smelting gold in the diggings near Ballarat, Victoria. Crucibles are heat resistant containers that are used for melting down metal ores. The stain where the gold was melted can still be seen on the surface of this crucible.
    SignificanceThis crucible is representative of the Australian gold rush and the equipment and utensils used by miners when procuring gold.


    HistoryIn many ways the discovery of gold in Australia echoed the California gold rush of 1849. Edward Hargraves discovered gold deposits in New South Wales in 1851 after returning from California. This discovery instigated a gold rush that tripled Australia's population in just 10 years. Miners from Britain, Europe, America and China mixed in harsh conditions on the diggings in an attempt to make their fortune.

    As the gold rush gained momentum there was an immediate demand for mining equipment including picks, shovels, cradles, long toms and gold pans. Miners often worked in teams of six with each man undertaking a specific role. Other machinery included steam engines which were common on the Ballarat gold fields and used to control under ground water pressure when digging on a large scale. Mining equipment was imported from overseas or brought with the diggers who came to Australia. Other equipment was made and repaired in foundries that were established in the mining settlements.

    Precious metals like gold are usually smelted in small quantities and only require small crucibles. These crucibles were often made from clay and could be manufactured fairly easily at the gold digging camps.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Crucible for smelting gold

    Primary title: Crucible for smelting gold, 19th century

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