A miner operates an air drill called a stoper or a "wiggle tail" in a gold mine in Gilpin County, Colorado, probably in the 1880s or 1890s. The miner stands on a drill steel wedged between the rock faces of the hanging wall and the foot wall. A second miner stands on the ground below the perched man. An extra piece of drill steel is propped against the foot wall. A single candle on a ledge of the foot wall lights the miners' work. The stoper drill weighed about 75 pounds ; and was powered by compressed air forced through heavy, wire-wrapped hose connected to the main air pipes of the compressor. The compressor, along with the hoist and allied equipment, was included in the surface installation of the mine. The miner would drill holes about 8 feet deep into the rock surface with the drill steel. After several such holes were drilled the miner would then load them with dynamite sticks and just before the end of his shift would light the ; fuses. The ore would be broken up by the explosion and then shoveled out by men working the next shift.
[between 1935 and 1950?]
name unknown. ca. 1900's Kemp coll." written on paper stuck to back of print; image is a copy of an earlier photograph taken by an unknown photographer, possibly A.M. Thomas; this image and "K-175" were found among a collection of glass plates in an old house in Blackhawk that was destroyed.; Title from inventory prepared by Western History Department, Denver Public Library; words "A remarkable early day flashlight photo by A.M. Thomas, of a mine interior, showing a miner perched on section of drill steel in a narrow stope operating an air drill locally known as a ẁiggle tail.' Back of the shift boss is at lower right corner. The miner leans against the stope foot wall while facing the hanging wall in which drill holes were placed for later blasting. Mine ; R7001251743
1 copy photonegative ; 8 x 6 cm. (3 1/4 x 2 1/4 in.); 1 photoprint ; 17 x 12 cm. (6 3/4 x 4 3/4 in.); 1 photoprint ; 20 x 15 cm. (8 x 6 in.)