I received a note on my Blog asking about information on a small “6-foot tall” stamp mill from a person at the Gold Rush Museum in Auburn, CA. Jason Adair had just completed assembling the 10-stamp mill at the museum. The museum moved from one location to another and the stamp mill was too big to fit in any of the doors. They also were moving to a place with less square footage so they had to make it fit by getting rid of the hopper that was attached behind the stamps. The whole thing was in a single piece and over ten feet long. Jason, a staff member that did the restoration, was the person that inquired on my Blog. He had a little information on its history. The label on the mortar box reads, D.D. Demarest Company, Angels Camp, CAL. The only historical information was that the Auburn Lumber Company donated it to the Placer County Historical Museum many years ago.
The following is the note that he placed in the Blog www.stampmillman.blogspot.com
“I work for the Placer County Museums and have just finished up rebuilding our ten-stamp mill. It's a six-foot-tall version that was cast in Angel's Camp by the D. D. Demarest Company. The story our docents, who have been around longer than I have, is that its small because it was a "salesmen's sample." Was there such a thing? Or were 6-foot stamp mills a thing a small operation could buy and use? We haven't had any luck tracking down any history on this and I was just hoping you may have. Also, your site is great and was of great use to us as we were assembling our mill.”
Jason sent the following pictures of the stamp mill to add more information about the mill:
NOTE: The following pictures were taken by the stamp mill restorer, Jason Adair, a staff member of the Gold Rush Museum in Auburn, CA.
Picture #1 This shows a sign that was recovered from the museum that was being shutdown. This shows that the museum received the stamp mill from the Auburn Lumber Company.
Picture #2 The picture below shows the stamp mill from the front. You can see that they wanted to enhance the ability of the mill to crush ore by the additional weight added to the top of the stamp stems.
Picture #3 You can see the mortar box is a single casting and has the companies name that was poured with the casting. It is a professionally produced component that was built to scale of the larger mortar boxes.
Picture #4 The picture shows the stamps with the shoes attached to the boss of the stamps. The shot also shows the details used on the larger stamp mills.
Picture #5 This picture shows the bull wheel, drive mechanism and the drive motor. Note the leather drive belt.
Picture #6 The picture below shows the ore chute that feeds the stamp mill. These mechanisms are commonly used to deliver the ore to the stamp mill
Visit the Museum The new Museum is under construction in the Historic Auburn Depot at 601 Lincoln Way and the first floor is open Friday through Sunday from 10:30 to 4:00. If you are interested in seeing the stamp mill run at the new Museum, the stamp mill is on the top floor of the museum that is not open yet. They are hoping to have it ready for visitors by the end of the summer. BUT, Jason asked the boss of the museum if our blog readers could get a special sneak peek if they come by and he said that could definitely be arranged if they call first to 530-889-6500.
By the way, this stamp mill runs. Picture #5 shows the motor that runs the mill. All you have to do is push a button and the stamp mill operates. This is unusual since there are not many stamp mills that have this capability. I have seen two stamp mills in Tasmania that have push button starts. A 12-stamper in Beaconsfield and a 2-stamper in Dudley Mill, Warahah.
Summary I’m trying to find out more about the stamp mill and here are the questions:
Auburn Lumber Company Is there any additional information on the Auburn Lumber Company? I talked with Jason and he said that the mill was shut down quite a few years ago, and they do not have any records of the stamp mill in their files
D.D. Demarest Company I Googled this and did not find much except that they were in business in the early 1900’s. Maybe someone knows something about this company, especially the California contacts.
Angels Camp Foundry Is there any information on a foundry in Angels Camp?
Small Stamp Mills We are trying to determine the purpose of this stamp mill. The size of this stamp mill is very unusual since the mill has all of the attributes of the larger mills, but are about less than half scale. The mortar box is made from a casting that cost a lot of money to fabricate for a mill that would never be used. The mill components have no wear and that means it was probably not used for a production mill. Most smaller "test" stamp mills are one and up to three stamps, the only exception being the circular 8-stamp mills that were taken to the field and used to sample various remote locations. The mill in this article would not have been very easy to transport to remote locations. It may have been a display model at the foundry for perspective buyers.
Please let me know if you have any information on this mill style.