Summary of articles in International Molinology No 107, which were published in December 2023

‘Sugar mills in Suriname’ by Willem van Bergen and Hillebrand Ehrenburg.

Suriname was colonized by the British then the Dutch. Very remote and difficult terrain provided unique challenges for sugar growers, and although other types of mill were used, the main specialty of the province was tide-powered sugar mills. These employed typical Dutch hydraulic engineering. Detailed descriptions of the sugar production, including graphics and original drawings are used throughout, including one drawing that recently came to light as that of a Suriname sugar tide-mill.

‘Dendrochronology (annual tree ring dating) Research on Windmills in the Netherlands' by Jan Hofstra.

This article describes the science and process of tree ring dating. The author then explores a number of examples of recent surveys in the Netherlands which have uncovered some surprising results. Often the expected dates of windmills are found to be older, but this is not always the case. The article is illustrated with contemporary maps and recent photographs of these spectacular mills.

‘The ‘Wooden’ Windmills on the Island of Syros, 1822-1843’ by George Speis.

The author investigated the history of this important port island in the Cyclades group (Greece), which uncovered references to ‘wooden windmills’ in the town of Ermoupolis. Through use of archival documents, engravings, paintings and maps he was able to propose a hypothesis that these mills were developed from knowledge brought along with the new settlers, probably from the Northern Sporades (Skiathos & Skopelos) and were actually horizontal types.

‘Windmill groups of La Mancha, Spain: from east to west’ by Ian Scotter.

All mill enthusiasts are aware of the story of Don Quixote ‘tilting at windmills’. The author decided to visit the area in 2023, and here describes the typical features of these very numerous mills, many of which have been restored for the benefit of tourists. He then goes on to describe each of nine mill groups in turn, all illustrated with lovely photographs enhanced by the stunning scenery.

‘Sugar Cane Crushing Windmills of St. Croix; featured on a new website’ by Bill Cleveland.

Detailed maps of St. Croix were created in each decade from 1750 through the turn of the century, and the author has used these, together with field surveys, to locate the mills used to crush sugar cane. All types of motive power were used, but the windmills (due to their size and prominence) were easiest to identify, and 150 locations on 147 estates have been digitally mapped onto a new website. The survey has now moved onto animal-driven mills.

‘Water mill using artesian water at Megali Vryssi, Lamia, Greece’ by Constantinos Balomenos.

In 1986 the author met and interviewed the last miller Giannis Ververis (1921-2002), of this rather unique mill. This information has been used to show how the motive power was derived solely from artesian water and used in this way until 1946. The author, a physicist, then provides a theoretical calculation of the power generated by the mill.

The one communications article is from Mike Beacham, entitled ‘Sickle Dress for Millstones: an interim note’. Here the author looks at the complex distribution of this dressing over place and time, as compared with the more frequent harp dressing. He concludes that the two dress patterns may have had separate areas of origin, followed by a long period of attempted improvements. The two types had a possible meeting point around the Mediterranean.

Also included in this edition of International Molinology is an obituary to Dennis Coombs, late Chairman of the Friends of Upminster Windmill.