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Guide to the Yuba Manufacturing Company, 1898-1957
MS 157  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Yuba Manufacturing Company,
    Date (inclusive): 1898-1957
    Collection number: MS 157
    Extent: 18 boxes
    Repository: Meriam Library

    California State University, Chico
    Chico, California 95929-0295
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    The library can only claim physical ownership of the collection. Users are responsible for satisfying any claimants of literary property.

    Preferred Citation

    [Name of Collection], Yuba Manufacturing Company, MS 157, Special Collections, Meriam Library, California State University, Chico.

    Historical Note

    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 one-bucket attempts.
    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.