Cradles or rocker boxes use the same principle of gravity as gold panning and sluicing does. It physically separates gold from other materials, based on its greater weight. Rocker boxes could process more crushed ore with less effort than gold panning or sluicing.

Cradles or rocker boxes were usually set up next to streams and rivers because they required water to operate, though much less than sluice boxes. A sieve was fitted on top to keep large pieces of rock out of the box. A small amount of water was added to the crushed ore, and the mud –called “slurry”– was swirled or shaken by an attached handle. The handle rocked the whole box back and forth, which is how this tool got both of its names. The gold collected on the bottom of the box; other material washed away. The bottom of the box was usually lined with riffles to help catch the tiny pieces of gold.
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Dian Day, Susan Sellers, Rita Wilson
1860 - 2013
Nova Scotia, CANADA
© 2013, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. All Rights Reserved.

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans