from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In mining, a method used in cold climates, as in Alaska, for softening frozen gravel so that it can be worked after frost has hardened the surface. Pipes tipped with steel nozles are driven down from four to six feet and dry steam at 120 pounds' pressure is forced through them. The pipes, called ‘points,’ are inserted one to every square yard. The alternative plan (called ‘fire-setting’) is to use wood fires, which are unsatisfactory, the smoke being objectionable, while the thawing, if uncontrolled, may soften the frozen roof of workings underneath and cause accidents.
- n. A method of thawing out the frozen water in gutters, leaders, or underground pipes and softening the congealed condensation in gas-pipes by means of heated steam from a portable steam-boiler.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Pushing the machine before him, he presently reached the mouth of Mine No. 3 in which three days of steam-thawing had brought the miners to a low-grade pay dirt.
Even steam-thawing, as yet untried, but bound to come, he saw would be a makeshift.
"And after them will come the big mining sharks that buy whole creeks where you-all have been scratching like a lot of picayune hens, and they-all will go to hydraulicking in summer and steam-thawing in winter --"