Scope and Content
Title: Yuba Manufacturing Company,
Date (inclusive): 1898-1957
Collection number: MS 157
Extent: 18 boxes
California State University, Chico
Chico, California 95929-0295
Collection is open for research.
The library can only claim physical ownership of the collection. Users are responsible
for satisfying any claimants of literary property.
[Name of Collection], Yuba Manufacturing Company, MS 157, Special Collections, Meriam
Library, California State University, Chico.
Gold dredging in California began in 1850 when a small river boat was fitted out as a
dredge and gravel mining was attempted above Marysville, California on the Yuba River.
The first successful gold dredge in California was built in 1898 by Biggs, Butte County
resident Wendell P. Hammon, the "Dredger King," and his partner, Thomas Couch, a Montana
mining businessman. This first model and those that followed consisted of a floating
hull, a digging ladder, an endless chain of buckets, screening apparatus, gold-saving
devices, pumps, and a stacker. The California dredge was developed from models used
earlier in New Zealand and in Montana, proving to be much more efficient than earlier
Hammon was instrumental in founding the Yuba Construction Company in 1906, by purchasing
the Western Engineering Company and merging it with his own steel from a casting foundry
in Marysville. Four large machine shops were built near Oroville to maintain and build
the dredgers. Hammon also founded the Yuba Consolidated Gold Fields on the Yuba River in
1904. This company became a large, profitable placer operation, a proving ground for new
dredge designs and a training ground for dredge operators and others in this global
industry. As many as 50 dredgers work in the Feather River/Yuba River drainage at one
time. The Yuba Construction Company changed its name to the Yuba Manufacturing Company
and later became a subsidiary of the Yuba Consolidated Gold Fields. In 1957 these
companies merged into Yuba Consolidated Industries. Yuba dredges have been built and
shipped from California to worldwide markets during the first half of the 20th century.
These "gold boats" were shipped in pieces and assembled where the mining would take
place. Locations included the countries of Malaya, the Philippines, Bolivia, Columbia,
China, and Russia.
Scope and Content
The Yuba collection contains business files and documents pertaining to the activities of
Wendall P. Hammon and the founding the Yuba Construction Company and Yuba Consolidated
Gold Fields, including annual reports of both companies and reports of other mining
companies. Also included in the collection are specifications and estimates for dredge
building, orders for new dredges, blueprints of dredges, photographs, maps and Hammon's
scrapbooks on dredge and other mining.