What is this engimatic equipment buried in a stream bank?
August 18, 2016 11:35 AM   Subscribe

You can view the equipment here. I took this photo of some old equipment embedded in the bank of Crane Creek in Crane, Missouri. I'm wondering if it might relate to the numerous tomato canning plants that operated there in the 1920s and 30s. It appears to be possibly a conveyor belt (?) They used those in the factories, I know.
posted by clockworkjoe to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is a bit of a guess and I can't really tell from the photo, but it might be part of a set of gold dredging equipment. Something like this, you can google 'gold dredging' for more pictures. That would also make more sense to me because it could have broken down on the spot and be abandoned, rather than dragged out of a factory and deposited there.
posted by bjrn at 1:47 PM on August 18, 2016

Yeah, that looks like an old grain conveyor, albeit upside down. A modern version has rubber belts. Modern models look like this.
posted by youknowwhatpart at 1:48 PM on August 18, 2016

Best answer: I was thinking gold too, particularly a sluice box, but I think the funnel makes a conveyor belt more likely. Perhaps a tomato sorter if tomatoes were that much more dominant a crop than grain in the area.
posted by rhizome at 1:52 PM on August 18, 2016

You may be looking at the underside of a grain elevator, but I'm inclined to go with the gold dredging equipment. Small amounts of fine-grain gold were washed into rivers (some in MO) by glaciation. There was never enough quantity for larger-scale mining operations. But, recreational prospectors might have used something like this (and the photo that bjrn provides). The funnel-like apparatus at the top of the elevator could have functioned to concentrate the flow of the gold into a bag of some sort.

A grain elevator would be unlikely to need such a funnel, nor would a tomato conveyor for that matter.
posted by John Borrowman at 2:00 PM on August 18, 2016

Best answer: The gold in Missouri is up on the Missouri River, Crane Creek is down south and part of the White River drainage. All the plumbing on it makes me think it was for cleaning fruits or vegetables at a cannery.
posted by ridgerunner at 2:33 PM on August 18, 2016

Response by poster: It is in fact related to a long gone tomato canning plant. I visited Crane again last Friday and talked to the man who owned the business next to the creek and he said his foundation once was part of a tomato canning plant. The machine buried in the creek bank came from the plant, according to the business owner. I've been trying to call the guy for a year but until this last trip he hadn't posted an active number on his door. You guessed it.
posted by clockworkjoe at 11:10 AM on August 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

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