Sep 21, 2019 Panning for gold in the 1800s. ... The most complex system of all was hydraulic mining, which used high-pressure water to loosen potential gold seams from gravel beds. It was very effective, extracting an estimated total of 340 tons of gold by the mid-1880s. ... Tools of the trade. Mining Tools of the 1850s. Miners used many different methods to extract gold from the ground. Some methods used basic tools, while others required the use of quite complex machines. Below are pictures and descriptions of some different mining tools. Gold Panning. Gold panning was probably the simplest form of gold mining in the 1850s, and today.