N.A. Forsyth, Montana Lighting the rattails. Getting ready to blast is shown above at the moment of lighting rounds set in the face. When all fuses were lit 'Fire in the hole' was yelled and everyone retreated to safety.
Inspecting a round of dynamite in contemporary times
The following is quoted from the Georgetown Miner:
"For a period of about sixteen years, that enterprising individual, the 'honest miner,' has prospected and dug for the precious metals in our county with the energy and tenacity which is a distinguishing characteristic of 'miner men,' and, to some extent, is born of the circumstances in which he is placed. He has lived hard and worked harder, and with an undaunted brow has often faced the bitterest and sternest realities of life. He has gazed down the misty avenues of probabilities until what to others appeared to be vague outlines of chance were to him all but an absolute certainty of his hopes. He has acquired fortunes with a few weeks' or months' labor, and often, with a generosity bordering on recklessness, he has squandered it again in but little less time than it took to accumulate it. On the other hand, he has toiled incessantly for years without taking out a single 'red,' but his faith still continues unshaken and his perseverance unimpaired. He has accomplished labors compared with which the cleaning out of the Augean stables would be but an ante-breakfast chore. He has penetrated to the very foundations of the eternal hills, and the innermost recesses of 'earth's gigantic sentinels' have echoed with the sharp ring of his steel-impelling strokes and bellowed back the infernal roar of his fiery persuasions. He has carved his way through sullen solitude in search of metalliferous wealth, and a liberal and enlighted civilization has followed close upon his heels. If he has not discovered the secret of the transmutation of metals, he has unfolded their rock-bound hiding-places; while mechanical and chemical science have sprung to his aid and rendered him indispensable assistance in their extraction. The brave and persistent miner has done all this and much more; not with the magic wand of an eastern fairy, but with a striking hammer, weighing from six to eight pounds, and other implements necessary to his vocation.
3 crews of two men each operating steam powered 'widow maker' drills. Note the different lengths of drill steels against the wall, and the cotton stuffed in the miner's ears. The dangers of this environment were noise, dust, and eye injuries from flying rock particles.
Notwithstanding the fact that he has accomplished so much, however, reason, experience and observation assure him that he is upon the first round of his ladder. In this case it is the topmost round, and however paradoxical it may appear, he must rise to wealth and position by sinking. In his very natural and potent desire for gain he instinctively grasped at that which came first within his reach, and many were rich surface 'pockets' that he legitimately and profitably rifled. With this object in view he has burrowed in and through the mountains, until the latter are dotted with the results of his subterranean labors, but thus far he has rarely penetrated below the streams which flank the bases of the secondary ranges of the mountains. He recognized the fact that there was no necessity for descending lower while so much remained above, Surface chimneys and pockets are not inexhaustible, however, and with their deflection deep mining is the next step in the exploration of true fissure veins. We would not insinuate that the surface deposits, or a tithe of them, are worked out, but there certainly is not as many of them as there were a dozen years ago, while the expense of downward development is much less now than it was at that time. In the matter of deep mining -- it must be admitted that the probability of realizing a snug fortune with a small outlay of money and muscle, is less likely to occur than in surface explorations, while it is equally true that the former presents a more certain and satisfactory field for investment."
Modern Day rock Drilling
Burleigh Rock Drill Tested in the Burleigh Tunnel at Silver Plume Colorado. The Burleigh Tunnel was the site where Charles Burleigh introduced the steam powered rock drill to western mining in June 1870. The Burleigh tunnel is the oldest in Clear Creek County.
Site of the first use of a rock drill, at the Burleigh Tunnel, Silver Plume. The Dive-Pelican and Seven-Thirty Mining Company O.O Reynolds Manager.