FAIRBANKS -- At 5 feet 8 inches, John A. Miscovich was an unlikely giant in the Alaska placer mining industry.
He invented a water cannon known as the "Intelligiant," which influenced the development of hydraulic gold mining, as well as firefighting and about 150 other applications, from riot control to tank cleaning and excavation.
Miscovich, who died Aug. 22 at 96 in Orange, Calif., is on track to be a future member of the Alaska Mining Hall of Fame in Fairbanks, joining his father, pioneer Alaska miner Peter Miscovich.
John Miscovich was born in 1918 in Flat, a settlement about 280 miles northwest of Anchorage that earned its greatest glory as a gold rush boom town and later as the flat place where Wiley Post crash-landed -- and survived -- in 1933 on a solo flight around the world. Miscovich grew up watching miners wash away tons of dirt with heavy nozzles known as "giants," machinery that had changed little since the 1870s.