Mystery Mining Machine

1-5-2013 021 WPLike the replicar in the An Unknown Automobile post, I made this photo without knowing what the subject was. When I first looked at it I thought, “engine”. But after a few seconds of gazing at it, I realized that the wheel was probably on the slave end of the pulley system. 

My guess is that it was an air pump, used to supply fresh air to one of the deeper mine shafts in the area. Of course, there’s no way of knowing without contacting an expert on machinery of the era, or getting a match on Google Images, which seem rather unlikely (and I didn’t try).

Since it was in the silver mining town of Calico in the Mojave desert, it dates, no doubt to the late 19th century. That is, if it wasn’t found by Walter Knott and transported to the town to give it more “period flavor”, like many of the horse-drawn vehicles appeared to be. As always, click on the photo to view the larger version.

Nikon FG with 50mm lens and Ilford Delta 400.