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Geology and Mining History of the United States

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Mining History Photographs, Illustrations and Diagrams

These are provided for educational purposes.

If you have photos or illustrations you would like to add, please contact me:

Here are some photographs of Joshua Hendy Stamp Mills, originally manufactured in San Francisco, as seen during the summer of 2009 somewhere in the Sierra Nevada Range.  The specific location of these is omitted to preserve their integrity. 

Many historic items such as this are dismantled and parts are sold for souvenirs.  Please leave historic items in the field as you find them for others to find and enjoy.

If you find more of these out there, please send me digital copies the pics so I can add them to this page.

A Joshua Hendy 3 stamp mill

Rear view

Front view

Close up of stamps

Detail of name plate

Distant view

Here are five illustrations of stamps mills produced in San Francisco by the Joshua Hendy Iron Works Company during the early 1900's. 

The following illustrations came from a Joshua Hendy Catalog which I sold year ago. 

I saved these illustrations from that catalog for everyone to see, study, and enjoy.

Can you identify the parts of a typical stamp mill?  A key to the parts of a stamp mill is included below.

A Four Post Battery Frame

It was seldom used due to its increased overall height and cost over a three post stamp mill; the advantage of this stamp mill was it seldom had a broken camshaft

A 10-stamp mill mounted on concrete mortar blocks; the ore bin was located to the rear

Stamps could be ordered from 850 pounds to 2,000 pounds each; stamps heavier than 850 pounds were not recommended for pack animal transportation


Cross-section of a standard battery frame with wood mortar blocks

Can you name the components of this stamp mill? (a key is provided below)           


The order of drop in a stamp mill

The most desirable order of drop was usually a 1 - 4 or a 1 - 5 drop.  the 1 - 4 drop was 1 - 4 - 2 - 5 - 3 meaning that stamp 1 dropped first, 4 was second, 2 was third, 5 was fourth, and 3 was last.  This drop was also written as 1 - 3 - 5 - 2 - 4 which is the same, but written backwards.  this drop caused the ore to build up on an end of the mortar resulting in an uneven distribution of labor on the dies.

The 1 - 5 drop was completed in the order 1 - 5 - 2 - 4 - 3 or written backwards, 1 - 4 - 2 - 3 - 5.  The drop became the favorite as it gave the most satisfactory results ever found.

The illustration here shows 10 stamps which commonly used the order 1 - 6 - 5 - 10 - 2 - 7 - 4 - 9 - 3 - 8.


Here is the key to the main components of Stamp Mills as shown in the illustrations above:

A - mortar, B - chuck blocks, C - screen frame, D - filling in board, E - screen keys, F - rubber cushion, G - screen,

H - shoes, I - stamp heads, J - stamp heads, K - tappets, L - cams, M - stems, N - camshaft, O - sleeve flanges,

P - battery pulley, Q - camshaft boxes, R - camshaft collar, S - guides, T - jackshaft, U - jackshaft boxes,

V - jackshaft collars, W - latch fingers

MS Book and Mineral Company

Geology and Mining History of the United States

Place an Order