Summary of articles in International Molinology No 103 which were published in December 2021
‘Flemish dog mills during the 'Great War' by John Verpaalen.
In 1910, the number of 'churn mills' driven by dogs in the Flemish provinces was reckoned to be over 13,000. This article collects a number of photographs of these devices, usually associated with farms, taken during the First Wold War. Many of course were damaged during the conflict, and today there are barely 25 of them in the whole of Flanders. The photographs also capture moments of peace, such as groups of soldiers who have just collected their mail, and a very unusual one with a female rider on horseback and in German uniform.
‘The watermills of the levadas of Madeira' by Hartmut Wittenberg and Christiane Rhode.
The island of Madeira is transversed by a series of irrigation channels which wind around the very steep topography. As well as carrying water to the fields, these levadas also supply watermills, 36 of which were included in this study. The article explores the energy generation and grinding capacity created by these spectacular works of hydro-engineering.
‘An English country millwright in the mid-20th century: Thompson’s of Alford in Lincolnshire' by Colin Moore.
This paper recounts the final part of the history of Thompson’s of Alford whose beginnings were published in TIMS Journal No 97 and continued in No 101. This covers the period from 1933 to when Jim Davies joined the firm in 1973, then taken on by Tom Davies who ran it until his retirement in 2013. These were very lean years for millwrights, kept afloat by repair and restoration work, but with falling profits. During the mid-1950s, however, work picked up as local authorities, mill preservation societies and some individuals started to restore mills for heritage purposes. This trend increased through the 1960s and 70s, and today many windmills in the UK bear the marks of Thompson's work.
Finnish Supermills and their Builders; Part I: Otto Sandström' by Kirsti Horn.
This is the first part recounting the work of millwrights based around the Gulf of Finland, this time focussing on Otto Sandström (1833-1906). There were officially some 9,800 windmills in Finland in 1895. This millwright built some of the last ones, these being very large hollow post mills of a particular design. The author provides details on 11 of these, and the photographs are quite astounding.
‘An antique miniature mill – the craftsmanship of a Pennsylvanian craftsman’ by Graham Hackney.
This short piece reports on the story of a complete roller mill assemblage, in miniature, held by the Lucas family for 85 years. It was built by a Pennsylvanian recluse by the name of Charles Derringer. The Lucas family are looking for a new home for the collection.
'A mill for making money' by Ian Scotter.
This last short piece recounts the author's visit to a watermill for pressing coins, built on the site of an old papermill. The mint was inaugurated in 1586. A full restoration was completed in 2011.