Summary of articles in International Molinology No 100 which were published in June 2020

‘Some Late 19th Century Ideas and Machinery for the Milling of Wheat by Percussion’ by Nigel S. Harris.

By the 1870s and 1880s Britain lagged behind the US and Europe in terms of technical developments in milling. However, the 1890s saw rapid development with the introduction of roller systems, but these were not the only methods explored. In this article Nigel Harris looks at milling by percussion; either by pneumatic means (i.e. firing a high speed stream of wheat against a plate) or by a stream of wheat ‘free falling’ onto a high speed rotating impeller. The claimed advantages of these methods are taken from contemporary records such as ‘The Millers Journal’. The performance and operation of some working machines that entered the market, such as Carr’s disintegrator and Nagel and Käemps dismembrator, are compared with traditional millstones.

‘Windmills in Greece: Some thoughts’ by George Speis.

This work is both a personal reflection and a review of windmill types and their distribution across the mainland and numerous islands of Greece. Much of the information was provided from the personal collections of Stephanos Nomikos and the accounts of other authors, news articles, tax registers and legal documents etc. This was all used to build up a comparative database of mills. The author reviews previous assumptions and conclusions regarding the nature of the Greek windmill, then explores the distribution of the various types, sometimes using his own methods of typology. Finally the article looks at the uses these mills were put to.

‘Brothertoft Woad Mill, Lincolnshire, England: an early attempt at mass production’ by John Brandrick.

The author, John Brandrick, is well known for his autocad drawings of mills, many of which have featured in IM. Here he has produced an article based around the drawings he did for the only permanent woad mill and manufactory in the UK, at Brothertoft in Lincolnshire. The product, used for centuries as a blue dye, required careful intensive treatment carried out by ‘waddies’, and grinding in horse mills. This particular establishment was founded by Major John Cartwright, and included cottages and a school for the workers.

‘The horse driven mill in the Monastery of the Strofades Islands, Greece (mid-17th century)’ by Stavros Mamaloukos and Michalis Papavarnavas.

This horsemill was unusually purpose-built into the fabric of the Monastery of the Strophades Islands, dating to the mid-17th century. The mill occupied its own vaulted space, and its unusual preservation is due to the abandonment of the whole ground floor of this castle/monastery complex. The authors have reproduced the results of a survey of the building and provide detailed drawings and photographs of the mill mechanism.

Artificial Channels and Mills: The Example of Basle (Switzerland), by Berthold Moog.

Berthold Moog, a resident of Basle, here tells of the extensive network of artificial canals and channels constructed throughout the city, from as early as 1150. They were formed around three tributaries of the River Rhine, initially through the work of the monasteries. Here the author details the history of each channel in turn, the corporations that managed them (taking over from the monasteries), and the plethora of watermills and industries these channels supported. These include corn mills, sawmills, fulling mills, grinding mills for gunpowder and tanning materials, hammer mills and wire mills. The number of these establishments is staggering and demonstrates just how much industrial and economic development could be based on the power of water.

‘The Rex Wailes Collection has arrived at the Mills Archive’ by Mildred Cookson and Nathanael Hodge, The Mills Archive Trust, Reading, UK.

Rex Wailes is probably the most influential figure in UK molinology and was a founding father of TIMS. Upon his passing, in 1986, his personal collection of mill artefacts and documentation, which had been stored in a damp garden shed, was rescued by Alan Stoyel. Alan did what he could to preserve the material which was sent to the Science Museum in London. In July of 2019 the collection was finally transferred to the Mills Archive Trust in Reading, where for the first time it will be truly accessible for study through digitisation. The authors here tell of the story of the move to Reading, and describe the work that will be necessary to stabilise the collection and preserve it.

‘Wiki Loves Monuments photographic competition; Ukrainian branch’ by Olena Krushynska.

Every September, in individual countries, the ‘Wiki Loves Monuments’ competition is held to judge the best photographs of the world’s historic monuments. The author was a judge on the Ukrainian panel (along with TIMS President, Willem van Bergen), and here she tells of the judging process, and why the three finalists were chosen. The winning images occupy the whole of the covers of this particular edition of IM, and Willem gives his personal view of the photographs.

‘Vermeer Mill, Pella, Iowa US: restored in 2002’ by Logan Aalbers.

Logan Albers recently joined TIMS, and here describes how the city of Pella, Iowa decided to recreate their own working Dutch windmill, as part of their Historic Village. In spring of 2002 the residents celebrated when the whole octagonal superstructure of the mill was lifted onto the high brick base, followed by the placing of the cap and sails. Today the mill is run by trained millers and helpers – all volunteers, and attracts thousands of visitors every year, especially during the tulip festival.

Also included in this edition of International Molinology are two obituaries, one to J.Geoff Hawksley, the other to Owen Ward. Lastly, there is one book review, by Willem van Bergen, on the double-volumed ‘Plantations of Antigua: the Sweet Success of Sugar. A Biography of the Historic Plantations Which Made Antigua a Major Source of the World’s Early Sugar Supply’ by Agnes C. Meeker MBE with Donald A. Dery.