Common in California after 1853, the stamp mill consisted from one to five heavy pillar-like stamps whose bottom, (or shoes), were cylindrical hammers made of iron, each weighing as much as one thousand pounds. Power to operate the stamps was provided by water, steam, or electricity, conveyed by belts to a large wheel. This operated the drive shaft, equipped with machinery that raised each stamp, then released it to drop onto the ore below, crushing it where it was reduced to a size fine enough for the gold to be recovered on the tables below by various methods. These California stamp mills were built so that a single head could crush 1.5 tons of are a day. At one time there were over 300 stamps dropping 24 hours a day in Angels Camp.
While the origin of this five-stamp mill is unknown, it first appears in the public record in November of 1920 when Harry Sr., Harry, Jr., and Alvin Love Hogarth filed an affidavit of labor regarding their mining operation. In 1930 the three men were assessed for personal property that included the Relief Quartz Mine that had an "old five-stamp quartz mill and 4 h.p. (horse power) gasoline engine."
In 2009 the stamp mill was purchased by the City of Angels Camp and placed in conjunction with the original quartz mine water wheel to illustrate the consecutive flow of material through the crushing stamps in order to recover the gold from the pulverized quartz ore.