& Answers for Forbes Mill Presentation.
Hello Ted Hazen
It has been some while since I last communicated with you but
hope I can ask you a few questions before I hand in twelve Bedford
Co. mill histories, an intro, photos and listing of Bedford County
millers for publication this year.
Mrs. Harold Goode who has initiated the project has compiled a
similar number of mill histories including some of the information
you provided us on Forbes Mill - which I thank you for sending.
I will tell you- that someone recently wanted to buy the Forbes
Mill from Bedford City/County and this is - as I see it - perhaps
the only way, the expensive proposition of restoring this mill
can be done. However the county supervisors have not organized
a committee to deal with this proposition and have not have dealt
with the mill for 2-3 years or so. Since the offer - they are
probably scurrying around a little more than before. Word is out
that they may offer it back to the Bedford museum. If so, my recommendation
as a board member was to let someone private buy the mill with
conditions that they restore it and maintain a connection to the
museum. I will of course give your name to any potential buyer/restorer
as a consultant if you wish.
Now for some questions that will help me conclude my intro.
Question 1: were millwrights apprenticed to the trade?
Can you outline/ define a millwright's work? Were the ones I find
listed in the county 1888 - builders of mills or another type
Ted Hazen: Millwrights were apprenticed to the trade
of the millwright, just like the miller was apprenticed to the
trade of the miller, and the millstone dresser apprenticed to
his trade. This is the part of "The Young Mill-Wright and
Miller's Guide," by Oliver Evans, 1795 through 15 editions
to 1860, is what the millwright learned in his apprenticeship.
Things like how to locate a mill, which type of water wheel to
use and how much machinery would any give water wheel could operate.
Basically after 1850 there were mill builders and millwrights.
As of about 1850 companies began to build individual mill machinery.
Oliver Evans began it with his business in Philadelphia, selling
millstones, elevators, conveyors, hopper-boys, bolters (sifters)
and cleaners, etc. But these were parts of traditional mills.
As of about 1850's companies, for example Nordyke & Marmon
began in 1851 selling portable burr mills. Mill builders (which
were often part of the flour milling machinery company) and millwrights
began to just install mills. Mill structures were no longer timber
frame buildings, and balloon framing could be done by a local
carpenter where the mill builder or millwright simply installed
the machinery. Companies like Wolf in Chambersburg, and Fitz in
Hanover, Pennsylvania, had milling engineers who could design
an entire mill from the water wheel to to installing the flour
milling machinery. This is why the Fitz Water Wheel Company could
build the Grist Mill at the Wayside Inn, Sudbury, Massachusetts,
in 1926, because it was part of the process. So in the middle
of the 1930's Fitz branched out and began restoring mills beside
selling water wheels (vertical and water turbines), burr mills,
corn roasters, wire weaving machinery, and traditional wooden
water wheels and mill gearing that they had always build from
Millwright learned new trades as technology changed. They made
wooden gears, and in time some millwrights learned to make wooden
gear casting patterns which foundries used to cast metal gears.
Mill-Wright Miscellany, or Mills & the Trades Necessary for
their Construction, Repair & Operation 200 years ago.
Then as time went on there became a disparity in the trades.
A mill could always learn to be a miller by becoming a miller's
helper, or a millwright's helper becoming a millwright. What I
mean by a "disparity in the trades" as time when on
the trade of the miller could be learned in college's schools
of milling science. Penn State had a school of milling science
where they had an operating flour mill on campus, as well as the
University of Kansas at Manhattan, Kansas, and other colleges
where the miller could also take classes in grain and baking chemistry.
Then as time also passed for the millwright, his place of education
became vocational schooling rather than higher learning. A vocational
school that taught millwrighting became less specific to flour
mills and more industrial millwrighting basic skill knowledge.
A vocational school trained millwright could work in a flour mill,
a saw mill, an industrial factory simply as a form of maintenance
man of industrial machinery. With the field of milling science
and millwrighting it was like medical training, they only teach
you what is current. They don't teach you what is passed. A dentist
is not taught classes in dental history or in milling science
there are classes in the various stages of milling history or
technical development. Someone who graduated from a college with
a milling science degree in the last hundred years or so was not
taught how to mill grain with millstones. The German schools today
even teach you how grain is milled on millstones, but before you
enter your training you have to show a history of working in the
field, and pass tests to enter school which is very much still
like miller apprenticeship programs of long ago.
Then after the American Civil War, the part that was missing
from "The Young Mill-Wright and Miller's Guide," became
schools of hydraulic engineering. Cornell University had a world
famous school of hydraulic engineer. The Fitz Water Wheel Company
developed a side-line business of selling models of water wheels
to colleges and universities schools of hydraulic engineering.
These table top working models of different types of water wheels
and turbines could be mistaken for patent models or salesman samples.
I have a handwritten notebook from an 1870 class in water wheels
taught in America by a famous German hydraulic engineer complete
with notes and illustrations for the course. A famous American
hydraulic engineer was John Blake Campbell, the son of a Presbyterian
minister in Roanoke, who graduated from Cornell, worked for the
Fitz Water Wheel Company, and then had the Campbell Water Wheel
Company from 1920 to 1960. Mr. Campbell along with Donald C. Wisensale
of the Fitz Water Wheel Company became the founding fathers of
mill restoration in America.
Question 2: often I have found that a mill was many times
deeded in a wife's name and not the owner of the mill. What was
the reason for this?
Ted Hazen: My great grandfather born in 1838, William
George Hazen was good at this. All of the farms and property that
he owned was in his wife's name, so he could not be sued and loose
everything he had. Mills basically the same thing. Before the
days of product liability insurance, or acts of god that washed
out your mill dam that caused damage down stream, the mill was
in the wife's name. Mills cause death and destruction from dust
explosions to loss of limbs and life. It was easier just to have
it already in the wife's name.
Question 3: when petitioned to the county court for erecting
a mill - did the petitioner have to do so if he were altering/improving
an abandoned mill rather than if he were to build new? Can I use
the maxim "Once a good mill seat- always a good mill seat"
...to hold true for a succeeding mill on the same site 200 years
Ted Hazen: I keep telling people the answer to this
one, is that you will never live long enough to unearth the laws
in each state for building mill dams, water rights, etc. Each
state is different as to their laws and perhaps where the laws
are buried. In Pennsylvania, to maintain the "water rights"
to use the water to operate a mill the law says, "you have
to show a history of continuous use." In Virginia, to maintain
the "water rights" you have to turn over the water wheel
once every three years or you loose the right to use the water.
In Massachusetts, back in the 1600's before the United States
they passed laws about building mill dams that would impede the
movement of fish. This is one that the Federal fish migration
law people, the EPA, the states office of dam safety, and fish
Basically you had to petition the court to alter, improve an
old mill or build a new one, basically because of the liability
of the dam, and that mills were business. It sounds like a good
maxim "Once a good mill seat - always a good mill seat,"
but but in the passage of time (a hundred years or so) that is
not always the case. Streams change their beds, and the flow of
a stream change. Some mill seats of the 1600 and 1700's became
divided up in the 1800's becoming like patch work quits that became
worn in the passage of time, were patched with new patches. Read
the following book...............
"Mills on the Tsatsawassa: Techniques for Documenting
Early 19th Century Water-Power Industry in Rural New York, A case
study illustrating the coordinated use of maps, deeds, and archeological
survey to reconstruct the locations of interrelationships of early
industrial sites and to reveal previously undocumented elements
of local water power technology," by Philip L. Lord, The
University of the State of New York, Purple Mountain Press, Fleischmanns,
New York, 1983.
Question 4: were wooden gear teeth made of locust and what
other hard woods?
Ted Hazen: Wooden gear teeth and cogs were made from
hickory and rock maple, and apple wood. You make them in jigs
and after you made a bunch of them, you boiled them in "raw
linseed oil" in a big cauldron. This toughens up the surface
of the wood and impregnates it with lubricant. There were companies
that made just mill cogs and gear teeth. The Fitz Water Wheel
Company that was part of their business to supply boxes of different
types and sizes of cogs and teeth. It was a sign of the knowledge
of a local carpenter if he knew about boiling the mill cogs and
teeth before he delivered them to the miller.
Question 5: I have what I believe is a conversion chart
from the Penns/Griggs/Parks Mill ledger 1894. The chart is 3 columns-
My guess is that the 1st Column. is flour/pounds - the 2nd corn
meal/ pounds - the 3d -how many bushels required to produce poundage
for 1&2. Might this be correct?
I thank you for your consideration of reply.
Ted Hazen: This is one of those answers that I love. Get
a group of people together around a table, hold hands and talk
to the dead, have a seance. You guess is as good as mine. The
mill made white flour, corn meal, and I think that it also made
buckwheat flour, and or pancake mix.
Millers had tally boards (where they moved pegs from holes
to hole like a game), chalk boards, and just wrote on the fabric
of the mill. I look at the numbers which could mean wheat, corn,
buckwheat, or flour, corn meal and bushels, and see percentages.
Percentages for a measure total amount or given amount of wheat.
The first column is the pounds of white flour, the second column
is the pounds of middlings, and the third column is the pounds
Many products of the mills are sifted into three distinct products.
Wheat can produce unbleached white flour, wheat cereal or middlings,
and bran. Corn can produce corn flour, corn grits, and corn bran.
Buckwheat can produce buckwheat flour, buckwheat cereal or middlings,
and buckwheat hulls. Oats can produce oat flour, oat meal, and
oat bran. Rye can produce light rye flour, pumpernickel flour,
and rye bran.
The problem with bushels and poundage is that a bushel of wheat
soft and hard weigh different than each other. A bushel of corn
also weighs different, along with a bushel of buckwheat, etc.
Bushels of grain varies from 50 to 60 pounds. Corn meal was sold
bolted (less the corn bran) and unbolted (including the corn bran).
According to the date, Graham flour would been ground with nothing
removed, and the later 20th century product whole wheat flour
has the wheat bran sifted out and removed. Mills measure their
output in barrels or hundred weight sacks. A bushel grain measure
is a thing that you would never find in a mill, however, they
only measure how many bushels a millstone can grind in perhaps
15 minutes. This is one method to know if the millstones are getting
A formula for self-rising flour (soft wheat) is as follows:
182.2 pounds of soft wheat flour.
2.7 pounds of bicarbonate of soda.
3.5 pounds of calcium phosphate.
3.6 pounds of salt.
Total: 192 pounds = one barrel. The formula is based upon the
classification of a barrel weight. All of the pancake formulas
have more than 3 ingredients. A lot of the pancake formulas are
based upon the capacity of the mixer which maybe anywhere from
200 pounds, 250 pounds, 500 pounds, or over a thousand pounds.
Weights per bushel from the Consolidated Grain Milling Catalogs
1927-28 of the most common grain products:
Barley, whole 48 pounds.
Barley, meal 38.2 pounds.
Barley, malt 38 pounds.
Buckwheat, 48.8 to 52 pounds.
Buckwheat, bran 19.2 pounds.
Buckwheat, middlings 28.2 pounds.
Buckwheat, hulls 16.9 pounds.
Buckwheat, flour 51.2 pounds.
Bran, wheat 16.0 to 20 pounds.
Bran, corn 16 pounds.
Bran, rice 25.6 pounds.
Bran, rye 19.2 pounds.
Corn, ear 70 pounds.
Corn, shelled 54.4 to 56 pounds.
Corn, cracked 56 pounds.
Corn, meal 48.0 to 50 pounds.
Corn, bran 16 pounds.
Flour, wheat 70 pounds.
Gluten, meal 54.4 pounds.
Hominy meal 35.2 pounds.
Middlings, coarse wheat 38.4 pounds.
Middlings, standard wheat 25.6 pounds.
Middlings, oats 48 pounds.
Millet, seed 50.9 to 51.2 pounds.
Oats, whole 32 pounds.
Oats, ground 22.4 to 23.8 pounds.
Oat, hulls 10 pounds.
Oat, hulls ground 12.8 to 14 pounds.
Oat, meal 54.4 pounds.
Oat, middlings 58 pounds.
Rice, polished or pearled 38.4 pounds.
Rice, bran 25.6 pounds.
Rye, bran 19.2 to 25.6 pounds.
Rye, middlings 51.0 pounds.
Rye, meal 48 pounds.
Rye, whole 54.4 to 56 pounds.
Soy beans 57.6 pounds.
Speltz 40 pounds.
Wheat, bran 16.0 to 20 pounds.
Wheat, ground 54.4 pounds.
Wheat middlings, coarse 38.4 pounds.
Wheat middlings, standard fine 25.6 pounds.
Wheat, whole 60.0 to 60.8 pounds.
Wheat, screenings 32.0 pounds.
Generally or at least in Oliver Evans day out of every hundred
pounds of wheat (on average), you got 72 pounds of white flour,
24 pounds of middlings, and 4 pounds of bran. This was effected
by the sharpness of the millstones, if the break rollers need
regrooving, the condition of the sifting screens, and the amount
of moisture or lack of it in the wheat. Dull millstones and break
rollers will tare rather than cut the grain. Then there is what
is "loss to the system" spillage, leaks, and what is
always trapped in the system. What that was cleaned out, of was
often thrown out or ended up as hog food.
I think that these were ledger records to show customers or
remember what happened to the wheat after it was mill when it
was bolted or sifted. The different percentages of flour, middlings
and bran sell for different amounts, and it was a way of the miller
knowing how much money he should come up with.
These amounts are really "small." I worked in two
mills the same size as the Big Otter or Forbes Mill in Pennsylvania,
and these have to be custom or batch amounts for customers. Generally
we ground 25 to 50 thousand pounds of wheat a day, 15 to 20 thousand
pounds of corn a day, and about the same amount of buckwheat when
it was season. The most corn meal that we ever ground in one day
was 27 thousand pounds.
Yes! I would be very happy if you gave my name as a potential
buyer, restorer, mill consultant, miller, millwright, milling
instructor or interpreter. Thank you.
Ted - Thank you for your detailed and timely reply.
I will keep you informed about what is decided about Forbes
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