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History of the Jackleg Drill

The jackleg drill is one of the pieces of machinery that allowed miners to increase productivity by an unheard of amount during the industrial revolution. It changed the way that mining operations existed and allowed for much more powerful drills to be brought in and be used by miners in search of precious minerals and other ore which they sought. In order to understand the history of the jackleg drill it is important to understand the conditions under which it was used as well as the results that it produced for those that operated it.

The jackleg drill was a name that was derived from two common conditions during the time of its introduction to the mining industry. The “jack” portion of the name refers to the common name for any worker that emigrated from Cornwall, England. These workers made up a large percentage of the hard rock workforce during this time because they were the most technically skilled in the field. The “leg” portion of the name refers to the hydraulic leg which is used to change the height of the drill and to provide pressure against the rock face which was being drilled into. This name has stuck with the drill until the current day where technologically advanced versions of it are still in use by mining outfits around the world.

The drills were commonly used to drill into the face of the rock in order to position dynamite deep within its surface. These explosions would unearth large patches of the rock which could then be examined for the precious ore that the miners sought. The jackleg drill was an improvement from the original mechanical drills which were developed in order to increase production and eliminate the danger that was a common by product of hand held methods. By using a hydraulic version of the drill miners were able to reduce the amount of dangerous airborne particles which they were exposed to during the mining process. The jackleg drill was able to replace a drill which was commonly referred to as the “widow maker” because of its dangerous working conditions. The jackleg drill made mining operations much safer for those involved which also increased the productivity of the workers who were trained to use them. Throughout its history the jackleg drill has been helping miners achieve greater results on mining projects through technology and innovation.