What did miners do in the 19th century?

Miners used mechanical crushing and grinding machines to break up ores for further processing. Early miners used Mexican arrastras or stamping mills, which reached their peak in the late 19th century, to crush ores into sand-sized particles. From Coeur d'Alene in Idaho to Tombstone in Arizona, boom towns flourished throughout the American West. They produced not only gold and silver, but also zinc, copper and lead, all essential to the Industrial Revolution in the East.

Soon, the West was filled with unhappy hopefuls hoping to strike it rich. In the late 19th century, mining was hard physical work. Miners lay on their backs and used a pickaxe to extract coal. I didn't go on strike because I wanted to, but because I had to.

A miner - like any other worker - must earn a fair living wage, or he cannot live. And the important thing is not how much you earn. What counts is how much you can buy with what you get. I've been through all this, and I think my case is a good example.

David Gerula
David Gerula

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