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Thursday, 13 September 2007
baby. A slang term used by the early South African and Brazilian miners for a crude apparatus that separated Diamonds and gold from worthless material. The baby was merely a water-tight box mounted on rockers. A coarse screen was mounted inside the box slightly below the top. Upon this screen a layer of heavy stones of a size too large to escape through the meshes was spread. The gravel from the diggings was thrown on top of the heavy stones and water was poured over the whole. The ap¬paratus was rocked back and forth, making the entire mass of gravel shift with each rocking motion. The heavier minerals worked down through the stones spread on the screen, through the meshes of the screen itself, and fell into the bottom. The lighter material was washed out over the edge of the box. Electrical or steam-driven rockers or pans are now used in many of the more pro¬ductive alluvial deposits.
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