For the first year or so a gold pan and a keen eye were all that was necessary to come by nearly an once of gold per day. Claims along numerous rivers and creeks throughout the gold region yielded multiple flakes in every pan. Once this gold was gone the industrialization of gold mining was ready to begin. It started small with single miners or small groups utilizing sluices, long toms, and "rocker boxes" - a device where gravel was poured through a sieve allowing only smaller materials to fall onto a 'baffle' (a sheet often made of canvas that would sag and allow small flakes to settle) and finally run down a small 'sluice' (a wooden funnel with bars to catch the gold). This entire contraption was placed on a set of rockers to rock the device back and forth while water was poured through it in order to settle the heavier gold.
The state's largest hydraulic mine, the Malakoff Mine, located in the foothills of Grass Valley utilized 40 miles of pen-stocks (pipes) dropping 1000 ft in elevation creating a jet stream of water shot out of the monitor (water cannon) at 500psi. This devastating blasting carved out a pit over one mile long, over half a mile wide, and 600 ft deep. It removed 41 million cubic yards of earth and garnered $3.5 million dollars worth of gold alone (the modern day equivalent of over $251 million). The mine, run by the North Bloomfield Mining and Gravel Company, operated around the clock causing need for the installation of the first ever long distance phone line in 1878 and electric lights in 1880. To process the giant quantities of gravel the company also constructed a 7,800ft drain tunnel out of solid bedrock, an engineering feat that took almost two years of day and night work to complete.