Can You Identify These Objects From the Klondike Gold Rush?

Lauren Lubas

Miners used this woodworking tool to help them build their equipment. What is it?

A drawknife is a tool that is still used today. It has two handles and a flat blade that connects them. This helps carpenters (and prospectors) control their movements as they shred the bark off of lumber and shave it down to form.

Can you name this t-shaped tool that helped miners break up rocks?

The design of the pickaxe hasn't changed much over the years, and that is because it's a pretty perfect piece of machinery. These helped miners break rocks and get to more difficult areas while they were searching for gold.

This helped you sharpen your materials. What was it?

With all of the work that everyone was doing, it was important to keep the tools in top shape. That is why a scythe stone was a necessity; these helped miners maintain their tools while they worked.

Do you know what this large piece of equipment is?

Sluice boxes could be made from various materials, but they all did the same thing. Sluice boxes help separate gold from rocks by pouring water over them. It was a more efficient way to separate gold while panning.

It wasn't used much, but it was necessary. What was it?

While prospectors and workers didn't necessarily bathe much in those days (who has time when there's gold to find?), it was an item people carried, because you never know when you're gonna need a bath.

This food item was a great way to get protein and sodium. What is it?

Bacon was an excellent source of food for miners and prospectors alike. This is mostly because it was easy to transport and it kept well during the travels of these people ... also, it was delicious.

These were necessary in the summer and winter. Can you name them?

Boots were necessary in the summer months to trudge through mud and were more than necessary in the winter months to keep your feet warm and dry at all times while chipping away to find gold.

If you were lucky enough to live in a building (instead of a tent), you probably had one of these. What is it?

Not everyone required a stove to cook on during the gold rush, but some people liked to have them. However, one person could share their stove with at least three others, giving them the ability to stay warm and fed during long days and nights.

What kind of nets were used in the summer months?

No one wants to be bitten by mosquitoes, and the Alaskan wilderness was full of them. Therefore, it was necessary for prospectors and workers to sleep with these mosquito nets, and they also helped reduce the spread of disease.

This is how we often think about people looking for gold. What is this instrument?

When you hear about people panning for gold, it isn't just a saying. As a matter of fact, a great way to look for gold is to slosh some rocks around in water. The gold will float to the top because it's lighter.

Prospectors needed this to walk through the snow. What is it?

The journey to the Klondike was not easy. As a matter of fact, many died before they even reached camp. If you planned on trudging through the snow, it was essential to have a stick help you test the ground.

Which item allowed prospectors to see in the dark while they tallied their totals for the day?

Candles were also used in lanterns at the time. The lantern housed the candle, so it wouldn't get blown out by strong winds and storms that often occurred in Alaska (and still do).

Miners needed this for their early mornings and late nights. What is it?

If you could imagine not having your morning coffee with subzero temperatures and a full day of work ahead of you, we commend you. Even these miners couldn't live without it, and these were an essential cooking vessel in the camps.

What material was used to wrap items for protection?

Canvas is a very thick and sturdy material that helps people keep all of their items safe. While it isn't completely waterproof, it is water resistant and helps keep bugs and animals out of your belongings.

What kind of socks were necessary to ensure prospectors and workers didn't get frostbite on their feet?

Thick wool socks or multiple layers of socks were a great way to ensure that you could avoid getting frostbite or other severe damage to your feet and toes. Boots were also very helpful in this regard.

What is the name of this extra layer of clothing which helped keep miners warm?

Long underwear in the 1890s was known as a "union suit." It helped give added protection from the cold for those traveling toward the area where gold had been found as well as workers who were in the frozen ground, digging for gold.

It was best to sleep near your stake. What is this dwelling called?

Many miners and workers simply pitched tents near their stakes to help them maximize their work time as well as keep their stake protected. They used tents and fires to keep them protected from the elements.

In order to build sluice boxes and other equipment, these were necessary. What are they?

When traveling to the Yukon, it was essential to bring your own supplies. It was difficult to simply send out for items that you needed, and buying these items at general stores in the area was difficult and expensive.

What were coats lined with to ensure warmth?

Rubber was a heavy material, and it took a lot of energy just to put one of these coats on, but it was totally worth it. These coats helped protect miners and prospectors stay warm during the cold Alaskan nights.

Many miners needed more than one pair of these. What are they?

Heavy wool mittens were an essential element to bring with you if you were headed to Alaska to find gold. It was also a great idea to bring more than one pair, just in case one (or several) of your mittens became wet.

Do you know what kind of pants miners and prospectors had to wear in the cold winter months?

Mackinaw trousers were made of thick wool that was densely woven to ensure that minimal wind or elements could penetrate them. These were an essential layer of the clothes that were worn at the time.

This common material was another necessity for finding gold. What is it?

Natural rope was essential for miners, but it was also necessary if you wanted to travel to the Klondike. Not only did it help people stay together during brutal winter storms, it also helped them get over the toughest peaks on the way there.

It was used for a variety of things like eating, relieving yourself and hauling. Do you recognize this item that was very versatile during the gold rush?

Buckets were great for a lot of different jobs around camps and stakes. They were one of the easiest ways to move earth into sluice boxes to help them separate the gold pieces from the dirt.

Which food item was a great way to get nutrients?

While we know it today as condensed soup, in the 1890s, it was called compressed soup. Most miners simply ate this out of the can, and it was a great source of vitamins and minerals that were hard to come by in the Alaskan winters.

What is this two-man saw called?

Even if you don't know what it's called, chances are you've seen a whipsaw in your lifetime. This saw is long and thin and has handles on both sides, meaning it requires two men to work it, so the work gets done twice as fast.

Which extra material ensured work didn't have to stop?

With the amount of work being done, it was impossible not to come across broken materials, tools and equipment. However, bringing extra ax handles with you could help you keep the work going when breaks occurred.

If you were going to build, you needed one of these. What is it?

Nearly every miner and prospector had a hammer on their person. They were used to pitch tents, build equipment and repair various items. If you found yourself without a hammer, you were probably up gold creek without a paddle.

Do you recognize this footwear?

There was a lot of moisture, rain and working in rivers and creeks to ensure that every square inch of a stake was covered while looking for gold. For this reason, rubber boots were essential for keeping feet dry.

These helped men clean up after a long day of work. Do you know what they are?

Towels weren't necessarily just for cleaning and drying your body. They were used to help men get the large chunks of dirt and dried mud off of them to keep their bodies clean while they worked.

Can you name this article of clothing that helped men work through the cold winter months?

Overalls were (and still are) a great article of clothing for workers. Miners didn't have to worry about holding their pants up while they worked if they wore overalls. Remember that coveralls have sleeves as well as pant legs, and overalls simply have straps that go over your arms.

This little box was important for any travelers or workers. What is it?

First aid kits were first invented in 1888. While the gold rush took place a few years later, there were still many travelers who didn't have this. However, those who came prepared definitely lasted longer.

Prospectors who wanted to look nice sometimes would bring what articles of clothing?

If you think that carrying a suit to Alaska isn't the greatest idea ever, think again. Those who wore suits in town were noted as prestigious and made it look as though they struck gold. This allowed for a lot of con men to work the towns over.

Do you know which material most of the warm clothes were made out of during the gold rush?

Wool is an excellent material for cold environments. It protects people from the cold and is water resistant. However, if it does get submerged, it can remain wet for a long time. This means that miners, workers and prospectors had to bring a lot of back-up pairs of mittens and socks.

Can you tell us what these tiny vials held?

Having a variety of medicines at your camp could help you fight the disease that flowed through these communal areas. Additionally, it helped when miners were in pain or suffering, and it kept them working.

Which item could be used for cooking and cleaning?

Vinegar's uses haven't changed much over the years. During the Alaskan gold rush, travelers would bring evaporated vinegar, because it was easier to carry and gave them the opportunity to add water to it if they wanted regular vinegar.

Do you recognize this clothing accessory?

In the summers, hats were necessary to keep the sun out of miners' eyes. In the winter, thicker hats that covered the ears were a great way to keep the ears and head warm while working.

If you were a miner during the gold rush, chances are you ate this every day. What is it?

Beans were easy to carry and they could be dried, locking in their nutrients. Beans were the most abundant food source during the gold rush because they were cheap and an excellent source of protein.

Which cooking device was necessary for miners?

Hot plates didn't exist during the gold rush, but a good frying pan was necessary for cooking. Because these were so big and heavy to carry, there was usually only one frying pan per camp.

What kind of fruit did miners and prospectors eat?

If you have never eaten dried fruit, you probably have no idea how delicious it is. Not only does having the fruit dried preserve it, but it also makes it lighter to carry on the long journey to the gold mining town.

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About This Quiz

In 1896, gold was discovered in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon Territory. As word spread that you could strike it rich in the tundra of North America, over 100,000 people started to make their way north and west. Some wanted to claim a stake of their own, while others were simply looking for work and a quick buck (even if it was a 1,000-mile trek for that quick work). The numbers for those who actually made it rich were minuscule compared to the number of those who traveled so far to do so. There were only a few hundred that could claim they earned money from the journey, and out of the tens of thousands who arrived in Dawson City, only about 4,000 actually struck gold.

Whether you're a history buff or you just like watching those gold digging shows that are peppering our educational programming, you know that there were a lot of items and objects that were necessary to make this journey as well as dig for gold in the 1800s. These items were both for survival and work. If you think you can identify these objects from the Klondike Gold Rush, take this quiz to see just how much you know.

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