Looks at the Barnitz Mill
A. Roller Mill and Water Turbines Era: This is the last era of
the Barnitz Mill's operation. The mill was powered by three water turbines.
The smallest of the three that operated the corn mill was removed during
the 1970's. The larger two turbines that operated the roller mill and flour
mill remain. Turbines became popular because several turbines could be installed
and the work (machinery) inside of the mill be divided up between a number
of turbines. With a traditional single water wheel the entire load of the
mill machinery would be dependent on the operation of a single water wheel.
There were many makers of water turbines and generally the turbine salesmen
over stated the practical uses of the turbines that they sold. Turbines
tested in scientific laboratories for efficiency rating of turbines greatly
fell short when these turbines were manufactured smaller and placed into
small mills. In other words they work fine at large scale and with large
dams but when manufactured smaller for the size of the average flour mill
their efficiency greatly crashes. They work most effectively when their
gates are wide open and they are drawing as much water as they can possibly
use. The problem was that most of the time the stream did not have that
amount of water for the turbines to work effectively. Much of the time an
alternative power source had to be added to the mill or the mill was converted
back to operate with a traditional water wheel. This is why the Fitz metal-steel
I-X-L Overshoot Water Wheel manufactured by the Fitz Water Wheel Company
of Hanover, Pennsylvania became so popular. They had a higher efficiency
rating than any water turbine, and they did not have to have their gate
wide open to be efficient (a quarter was enough). The big selling feature
of a Fitz water wheel was that they would work on streams where a conventional
water wheel or water turbine would not operate.
The water turbine is a horizontal water wheel. It was developed in the 1840's
by French engineers. The direct ancestor of the modern water turbine is
the American tub mill. A tub mill is of horizontal wood (some of the later
ones were made of metal) of the Norse Mill design. In America a round wooden
tub, open on the top and bottom was placed around the water wheel to make
them more efficient. These water wheels are terribly inefficient and when
they are operating water would fly everywhere. The Norse Mill is a descendent
of the earlier Greek Mill that was developed about 2 thousand years ago.
This design was inspired by the Persian horizontal windmill that was developed
about 3 thousand years ago. It was individuals interested in water power
in Lowell, Massachusetts who first brought the early French turbines to
American and afterwards the first American turbines began to be manufactured
first in Lowell.
One of the two water turbines that is located in the Barnitz Mill is
a Fitz Burnham Turbine, a register gate style of water turbine. I would
guess this turbine was constructed between 1909 to 1922. The other is about
an 1870's style of wicket gate water turbine. A good source of catalog source
material is located at the Hagley Museum and Library, Post Office Box 3630,
Wilmington, DE 19807-0630, (302) 658-2400. The Hagley Museum and Library
web site (with its online catalog search engine) is at url: http://www.hagley.lib.de.us/
The trade catalogs are located in the Hagley Museum Library, and the paper
archives (company records) are located in the "Soda House" building.
August Wolf started the Wolf Company first in Philadelphia and then he moved
the company to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. In 1885 the company was manufacturing
Wolf-Keiser Water Turbines. The company manufactured flour making machinery
at least until World War II. From my personal experience Wolf Roller Mills
(August Wolf Company, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania) and Case Roller Mills
(J.M. Case Company, Columbus, Ohio) were the best manufactured rollers mills
According to the flow diagram prepared for the the Barnitz Milling Company,
Carlisle, Pennsylvania, "Milling Diagram," by the Wolf Company,
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, drawing number 56, dated March 31, 1922,5 The
flour mill in Barnitz Mill had the flour machinery: one Wheat Scourer, one
Wetting Conveyor or two Tempering Bins, one Stock Bin, one Feed Governor,
five Roller Mill Stands [7 inch by 16 inch rollers]. Of these roller stands,
five were Break Rollers and five were Reduction Rollers, one Middlings Purifier,
one Bran Duster, one Wonder Scroll [Middlings Regrinder], one McFreely Scroll
[Middlings Regrinder], one Round Reel, one Plainsifter, three Dust Collectors,
and one Roller Suction. This system would also include about a dozen flour
elevators, at least two receiving elevators, conveyors, and chutes. This
system produced four grades being: Flour, Straight Flour, Shorts, and Bran.
This is all very straight forward and are very common pieces of milling
machinery. They would not be too difficult to find like replacement pieces.
The problems that some saw in using millstones for the milling of flour
was that they needed constant dressing. Millstones on average need to be
dressed once a month. After a pair of millstone grinds between 100 to 200
thousand pounds of grain, it takes between 12 to 14 hours to dress a pair
of millstones and for a long period of time this job was done by itinerant
millstone dressers. Others means of grinding grains were tried using a system
of rollers. A Swiss engineer name Jacob Sulzberger is credited for being
the inventor of the roller in the 1830's. These rollers were made of porcelain
material or bisque, and the problem was that the abrasive quality of the
grain break down the rollers in time. Mechwart in Budapest, Hungary, developed
the first practical roller mill. Benoist, a French miller, installed a roller
mill in his mill in 1830 using French Millstone material. It was this type
of rollers that Ferdinand Schumacher used for introducing oat meal to his
non-German neighbors in Akron, Ohio, in 1854, who they originally thought
oats was only intend to feed animals. The Hungarian system of milling was
introduced into America around 1876 to 1877. The reason it took so many
years was that first the roller system in Hungary was not an automated process.
Each machine was a separate step, and material had to be fed in by hand
and collected, and then carried on to the next step. It was not until after
the 1860's in Hungary was the system of chilled iron roller milling came
into common practice. The first roller mills were noisy and gear driven.
The first to adopt the Hungarian system of flour milling was the larger
mills in Minneapolis.
The improvement in flour making came with the introduction of the middlings
purifier. One of the first purifiers was Paur's Middlings Purifier that
was built and used in 1810 in Austria. The first practical modern middlings
purifiers were developed in France by Perrigault in 1860. In 1870 Edmund
N. La Croix introduced the first purifier to America.
The change for the most part occurred in 1880 to 1881 when "New Process"
milling adopted the roller mill in place of the millstone. The earlier system
of milling was called "flat" or "American" milling.
New process milling was developed in the late 1840's to early 1850's and
it involved the regrinding of middlings on smaller pairs of millstones (middling
stone). This flour was called "patient flour." It was not until
the 1890's could it have been said that the roller mill had replaced the
millstone in modern flour mills. What made the American roller mills such
a success was their system of automation.
The main problem with restoring the Barnitz Mill again to the roller system
is the weight and vibration of the machinery. The roller stands, line shafts,
gears, plainsifter and other pieces of machinery are very heavy and presently
the structure would no longer take the weight of this machinery. Also the
structure could not take the vibrations of the machinery if it were operating
in the mill today. The vent stacks and roof dormer that are visible in the
1950 photograph of the mill showing the head race side (up stream south)
of the building need not be returned. This was constructed to allow for
the elevator line to be installed with the roller mills and the vent stacks
are from dust collectors. The roof vent stacks are located in the mill building.
These features need not be returned unless the Barnitz Mill was restored
to the water turbine and roller mill era of operation.
B. Breast Shot Water Wheel and Millstone Era: The most common
water wheel used in American industry from the mid-1700's until the 1840's
was the breast shot water wheel. The same requirements along a stream for
a breast shot water wheel also are the same requirements that are needed
to operate a water turbine. This is why almost all breast shot water wheels
were replaced by water turbines. Lowell, Massachusetts, saw the first installation
of water turbines in America. One mill there continued to operate using
a breast shot water wheel into the 1890's. A breast shot water wheel has
almost the same efficiency as that of an overshot water wheel. It does not
require as great of fall as an overshot water wheel and will operate more
effectively in high flooding water backing up in a tail race than an overshot
A breast shot water wheel is most commonly used in falls of between 6 to
10 feet. These water wheels are constructed very similar to that of the
overshot and pitch back design. Both often have elbow buckets. A breast
shot is called a breast shot because behind and below where the water enters
the water wheel is a breast or apron. These are usually fitted one inch
away from the water wheel to retain the water in the buckets and make the
water wheel more efficient. The wooden breast was most common in America.
In England and Europe it was common to have a stone breast, extended along
the lower curve of the water wheel just beyond its vertical center.
The breast shot water wheel came in three different types: the middle, low
and high breast shots. The middle and low breast shot water wheels had deeper
buckets to deal with the increased volume of water required for the low
head of water to develop power equivalent to that obtained by a high breast
shot water wheel. A high breast shot water wheel would then have elbow buckets.
A breast shot water wheel combined both the weight and impulse of the water
in their operation, and these water wheel were larger in diameter and wider
than many other water wheels. They were often well designed wheel that made
them very popular with industry.
The French millstones were quarried in and around La Ferte-sous-Jouarre
near the town of Chalons in the Marne Valley of Northern France. The quarries
were mainly active from about 1330 to 1940. The French millstone or burr
stone is the best millstone material ever discovered for the grinding of
wheat into white flour. It is made of a freshwater quartz. These millstones
were imported into the American colonies as early as 1621 into Virginia.
By the 1750's the French millstones became the great favorite of colonial
millers particularly engaged in the merchant (export) business of flour
manufacture. These millstones enable the American millers to produce white
flour of comparable quality as that of the European mills. The two wars
with Great Britain (the American Revolution and the War of 1812) cut off
the supply of English Millstones so this increased the importation of French
millstones. During this time the deposits of millstone material quarried
from France, the stone size diminished so millstones could no longer be
made of single millstone but now had to be constructed of blocks or "burrs,"
also spelled "buhrs." The French millstones are made up of pie
shaped blocks cemented together with plaster of paris and held together
with a metal band. These millstones should not be stored or placed outside.
In time the weather will break them down and soon there will be only a pile
of what used to be a millstone.
Then the Napoleonic Wars increased the price of a barrel of flour so it
increased the demand for white flour and more French millstones were imported
to the United States. The United States was the largest importer of French
millstones. There were more here than in France or anywhere else in the
world. Here many firms were engaged in importing the blocks of the French
stones, and making these blocks into complete millstones was for many years,
an extensive industry. The advertisements by some of these millstone makers,
in the American milling trade journals, claimed that they had their own
men in constant attendance at the quarries in France. By having this personal
supervision over the quarrying, the makers stated that only the very best
quality burrs were selected for use in their millstones.
A few of the firms engaged in building French millstones in the U. S. A.
(Source: A paper entitle "Millstones, An Introduction," Notes
by Charles Howell, no date) are listed as follows:
In 1774. James Webb, Little Queen Street on the North River, New York City.
1791. G. Speth, New York.
1796. Samuel Wilson, 40 Cortland Street, New York City.
1797. Oliver Evans, 126 South Second Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
In Leffel's Illustrated Milling & Mechanical News, January 1876, there
were advertisements by the following millstone makers:
Edward P. Allis & Co., Reliance Works, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Samuel Carey, No. 7 Broadway, New York City.
William H. Dillingham, 143 Main Street, Louisville, Kentucky.
Nordyke, Marmon & Co., Richmond, Indiana.
Straub Mill Company, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Other French millstone makers were B.F. Star in Baltimore, Maryland, Sprout
Waldron & Company, Muncy, Pennsylvania, and Charles Ross & Sons,
Brooklyn, New York. B.F. Star at one time claimed to have 2 thousand men
working in French millstone quarries cutting blocks that would only be imported
to the United States.
The French millstones being approximately 4 foot in diameter is the average
size for a pair of millstones. The average size of the time period in question
ranged from 4 feet to 4 feet 6 inches. Millstones of earlier periods were
larger and at time the average diameter of a millstone was 72 inches. Then
they discovered that bigger is not necessarily better so that is when the
average diameter became 48 inches. The millstones each have a case that
is called the "Vat", horse, shoe, hopper and damsel. The shoes
used in mills of the period of the mid to late 1700's would go around both
sides of the damsel. Earlier shoes would have completely enclosed the damsel
and only a round hole would be in the center of the shoe for the damsel
to rotate in. The Blacksmith forged damsel is typical of the period for
use on French millstones. They changed and evolved differently during the
beginning to mid 1800's. The multi-sided opening in the top of the vat is
also typical of the period and it also changed and evolved differently during
the beginning to mid 1800's. During the mid to late 1700 many mills would
have openings that were cut with multi-sides or fluted edges rather than
the later round openings.
The millstones on their hurst or husk frame is tentered in the manner typical
to the period with a bridge tree and bray. The tentering is the process
of adjusting the distance between the upper and lower millstones to adjust
the coarseness or fineness of the grind. A tentering staff also called a
"lighter staff" is connected to the bridge tree from the brayer.
It is called the lighter staff because pulling down on this arm "lightens"
the grinding effect of the millstones upon the grain. The lighter staff
is controlled and held in position by a leather strap attached to the hurst
frame and wind around the end of the arm several times and tucked over it
self and hanging from the free end of the strap is a round (4 pound) wooden
bottle (shape) weight. It appears in one of the later photos that the millstones
were tentered with a tentering screw and hand wheel. Oliver Evans advocated
this form of tentering system in mills to replace the traditional methods
and would have been found in mills after the mid 1780's.
There is a slot cut in the hurst frame for the ground meal to fall down
a chute into the meal box. A twist peg is also found on the side of the
hurst from above were the meal box would have been. In later mills after
Oliver Evans they would have used the tentering screw, hand wheel and a
twist peg found on the horse frame itself and there was no longer a need
to maintain a long strap down the side of the hurst frame.
In the book, "Historical Sketches of Dickinson Township," by Edith
Logan and Barbara Barnitz Lillich, 1985, are several photographs of the
Barnitz Mill. on page 32. the lower photograph show the mill from the northeast
corner of the building. This photo clearly shows the detail of window trip
around the Dutch doors, the two windows in the front gable next to that
door underneath the sack hoist overhang hood. A small low dormer is located
on the north roof in line with the millstones and hurst frame below. This
would indicate a main vertical shaft in the mill that would extend to the
attic area to operate the sack hoist and other machinery. Other pieces of
machinery located in the attic would be the smutter, rolling screen and
hopper-boy. The smutter draws in its air that it used in its operation from
the floor below but the hopper-boy would require light and air to effectively
operate. This is more than likely the reason that the mill had a low dormer
only on one side of the building was because a hopper-boy was located in
that general area.
The hopper-boy, or cooler, was invented in the late 1700's by America's
best known milling engineer and inventor, Oliver Evans. This mechanical
device, once commonly found in the upper floor of mills, is no longer in
use. It faded out of popularity less than 100 years after its invention.
Designed to cool hot flour coming off the buhr stones, the hopper-boy was
automated and more sanitary than the traditional method it replaced. This
was one of the five inventions that were to make Oliver Evans famous to
Our story begins in 1782 when Oliver Evans and his younger brother Joseph
moved from Delaware to Tuckahoe, Maryland. Here they opened a store on the
Eastern Shore. However, his two older brothers in Delaware were planning
to run a mill. Because Oliver Evans had mechanical training and interests,
he was charged by them to design the mill machinery. He began to inspect
local Maryland large and small mills. Prompted by the current inefficient
practices, he began to formulate his ideas for a completely automated flour
mill. His efforts started with paper models of bucket elevators. He went
on to build several devices which together became his new system of automated
After his September 1785 marriage to Sarah Tomlinson, Evans continued work
on his revolutionary ideas and perfected the principle of the hopper-boy.
By September 1785, after nearly two years work, the Evans brothers had invested
in a mill on Red Clay Creek near Newport, Delaware. Their aim was to secretly
revolutionize milling practices utilizing the devices Oliver Evans had labored
so long to perfect.
Bucket elevators, conveyors, drills, descenders, and the hopper-boy were
built for the mill from models that Evans had perfected. The devices were
concealed from the public, and the doors were kept locked while the interior
was completely renovated. These mechanical devices would become the heart
of the American, or flat grinding, system, still used by smaller, custom
mills into the early 20th century.
In the pre-Evans mill, millers or boys would carry freshly ground flour
sacks up ladder like stairways to the top floor or attic of the mill. Sometimes
it was hoisted up using ropes and buckets or sacks, and dumped on the floor
where it was spread with a rake to cool and dry it. The miller's helper
in this process was called the hopper-boy. The flour might remain on the
floor for many hours, filling the loft with flour while waiting for the
moisture to evaporate so it would not sour later. Egg laying insects loved
it! After the flour was dried and cooled, it was bolted, where again it
would be deposited in hoppers or bins to age and whiten. Evans invention
cooled and raked the freshly ground flour mechanically: saving labor, time,
and space; and, it did a better, more complete job.
The hopper-boy was a much more difficult device to invent than the bucket
elevator. Evans would later say, "Both to spread and gather at the
same time then seemed absurd, and the discovery caused months of the most
intensive thinking, for the absurd always presented itself to baffle and
defer me!" In 1795, Evans wrote and published his famous classic, "The
Young Mill-Wright and Miller's Guide" (reprint for sale in SPOOM's
Bookstore) that would be reprinted three times during his lifetime, and
in twelve more reprintings after his death. In his book he describes how
to build his inventions.
A Description of the Hopper-Boy: Ground wheat from the millstones would
fall into a bucket elevator where it was raised to the hopper-boy on the
upper floor. The hopper-boy was customarily enclosed within a circular or
octagonal wall (not found in Evans original drawings or descriptions) that
kept the flour confined. As refinements were made, these walls became more
and more completely enclosing the device, however, this would defeat its
purpose as it needed an exchange of air to complete its purpose.
The miller's hopper-boy once worked in a room in the loft with a rake. But
Evans hopper-boy would fill the loft with a shallow, circular tub which
contained a revolving rake usually about 12 to 15 feet long. The actual
size would depend on the capacity of the mill. The rake, with arms of soft
poplar, was turned by a cog wheel, and it turned the flour over and over
by the use of paddles. The flour was eventually swept by the device into
a chute that directed it to the bolter below. The size of the rakes actual
varied from 4 to 15 feet long. Smaller machines had one discharge hole to
one bolter, while larger machine had two discharge holes feeding two bolters.
In operation, the rake was attached to a central vertical shaft which effected
the motion about 4 rpm's. To the shaft was attached a horizontal balance
arm; the arm was pinned to the vertical shaft in the center. The rake itself
would float upon the vertical shaft being governed by a counter weight that
was tied with a rope at one end and ran up the vertical shaft through a
pulley in the shaft to the rake at the opposite end. The rake had to be
able to float to adjust to the volume of the flour dumped into the tub.
The counter weight regulated the length of the time flour spent in the hopper-boy.
The rake, always on top of the flour, moved the flour in a declining spiral
to an off-center discharge hole, or holes. The action of the rake's paddles,
or flights, turned the meal over many times before falling to the bolter.
Other of Evans inventions were designed to move material horizontally or
vertically through the mill. These were the elevators, the conveyors, the
drill, and the descender.
The elevator raised material vertically. It was an endless strap of (white)
leather that revolved over two pulleys. To the strap were attached a number
of equidistantly spaced small, wooded or metal cups.
The conveyor was made of maple or smooth hardwood paddles that were attached
to an endless screw and arranged in two continuous spirals. The device was
placed in a wooden trough and was used to transport material horizontal
through the mill.
The drill is similar to the elevator and the conveyor in design. It has
an endless strap, like the elevator, to which are attached blocks of popular
or willow. Moving between two pulleys, the drill moves material horizontally
along the bottom of a wooden case from machine to machine.
The descender was a broad endless strap made of leather like an elevator,
but moved freely over two pulleys with different elevations creating a slight
downward slope. The descender operates by the weight of the material, much
as water falls over a water wheel, rather than by some outside force. The
material moves on top of the belt at a controlled rate, much like an assembly
line conveyor belt.
When Oliver Evans opened his automated mill on Red Clay Creek, it was seen
by 5 Brandywine millers. J. Shiply exclaimed, "It will not do it, cannot
do, it is impossible that it can do!" But he saw it with his own eyes,
and millers of the era who declined to adopt Evans's hopper-boy were doomed
to produce an inferior flour. Evans thought the most of his hopper-boy invention.
He organized a company in Philadelphia which made and sold milling goods;
however, they refrained for whatever reason from putting their name on their
goods. Thus, it is impossible to prove that any Evans produced machinery
Early 19th Century Milling: In Evans's day, American millers used
the old American or flat grinding system of milling. The fast turning millstones
were set close together and placed a lot of pressure on the grain. They
needed to be well dressed to do their job. The object was to produce as
much flour as possible through one pass through the stones. Grind once,
sift once was the rule. The meal would leave the stones hot and damp; the
duller the stones, the hotter would be the flour. The bran was broken into
fine particles, and the middlings turned into warm clumps which would clog
the bolting cloths if not cooled before bolting. Hence the need for a device
(or person) like the "hopper-boy." One explanation is that the
name hopper-boy came from the saying meaning to "hop to it."
The hopper-boy fell out of use with the coming of the high grinding, or
gradual reduction process of milling that was popularized in the 1880's.
In this method, the stones were set farther apart, and naturally produced
a cooler flour. The flour was additionally cooled in the elevators as it
was carried up through the floors in small cups. An adaption of the hopper-boy
is still used in some coffee mills today to cool freshly roasted coffee
beans before they are ground.
Where is the Hopper-Boy Today? Hopper-boys can still be seen today. Remnants
are occasionally found in attics with only the rakes, vertical posts, or
tub circle remaining. The uninitiated do not realize what these devices
did. Complete hopper-boys can be seen today at (1) Klines Mill south of
Stephens City, Virginia. (2) Pierce Mill, Rock Creek Park, in Washington,
D. C. where a hopper-boy from the Boxman Mill, Linesboro, Maryland was removed
and reinstalled in the Pierce Mill by the Fitz Water Wheel Company on the
1930's. (3) Colvin Run Mill, Fairfax, Virginia has a reconstructed hopper-boy.
(4) The Robbins Mill, Black Creek Pioneer Village, located just north of
Toronto, Canada, has a reconstructed hopper-boy, and (5) the Hagley Museum,
Wilmington, Delaware, has a working, miniature model of the hopper-boy in
an Oliver Evans Mill model.7 A four pairs of millstones could supply flour
for 8 bolters, 4 sifter box bin bolters in the basement and 4 bolters on
the second floor.
C. Museum and Multi Usage Areas: A traditional wooden water wheel
has a life time of 10 to 20 and possibly 30 years depending upon how it
is cared for and regularly maintained. Wooden gear teeth can last up to
50 years ormore depending upon regular lubrication and how the gears are
aligned. Wooden gear teeth if the gear faces are not aligned to each other
will be worn away to uselessness in less than one day but if properly aligned
and lubricated will last 50 or more years. The wooden faces of gears and
arms can last 50 or more years. The main reasons these decay are lack of
air, sunlight, flooding in the mill, dampness and water. If the mill is
not operating and traditional machinery is installed as a static exhibit
I would think they would last a great many years without presenting any
This building would be divided as followsinto the Museum and Multi Usage
Areas: the museum would included milling machinery, and exhibits, and the
multi usage areas would include the second floor of the mill and areas around
the exterior of the building in the park.
The basement would include the following mill machinery and museum items:
possibly four meal boxes, four meal chutes from the millstones, four twist
pegs, four Lighter staffs and bottle weights, and at least one sifter bin.
This area would could include 1 or 2 tables for display items. On these
tables could be displayed such items as the following: grain scoops, flour
scoops, flour paddles, flour sacks and tie string (used in the mill), a
flour barrel, a flour barrel branding iron and or stencils. Anything in
this area (the front basement room) should be removable to higher level
floors in case of flooding.
A wooden barrel used for flour is constructed as a "dry" cooper.
A dry cooper is different than that of a "wet" cooper. A wet cooper
is meant to hold anything that is wet or a liquid. This would include: water,
beer, wine, ale, molasses, rum, cider, tar, oils, etc. A wet cooper holds
a liquid and the liquid will make the wooden barrels staves swell and may
cause the barrel to leak. So a wet cooper has metal barrel hoops around
it to prevent the barrel from leaking. A dry cooper does not present this
problem, but there may be a problem if metal barrel hoops are used. The
main method of moving a barrel is to tip it on its side and roll it. A flour
barrel and a barrel of gunpowder would not use metal hoops because of the
danger of striking a nail head and causing a spark. The dust from flour
is more explosive than gun powder and it is 35 time more explosive than
coal dust. A dry cooper is meant to hold flour, gunpowder, tobacco, salt,
sugar, spices, paint pigments, etc. Laws required barrels to be of different
sizes to hold different amounts of material. A flour barrel is required
by law that the cooper had to make his barrels to hold 196 pounds of flour,
and the miller also by law had to place 196 pounds of flour, or 14 stone,
in each barrel of flour. A dry cooper for holding tobacco is called a "hogs
head." it is much larger and would hold 500 pounds of tobacco. A dry
cooper hoops are made of split ash hoops that are notched on the ends and
interlocked together to form a barrel hoop.
The hurst or husk frame area should represent the mill gears, millstone
spindles, bridge trees and brays and the linkage for the lighter staffs,
and should contain the inboard end of the water wheel shaft. This area of
the gear pit can be lighted with spotlights so visitors can see into the
area and it not be hidden in darkness. Visitors viewing into this area would
only see the water wheel from the side. This means that only a side profile
of a water wheel of approximately the proper size could be constructed or
an entire water wheel constructed.
The first floor can contain the following mill machinery and museum items,
up to four pairs of millstones. One millstone should be complete and covered
with all of its millstone furniture. This would include a hoop or vat, horse
frame, shoe, damsel, and hopper. There should be one pair of millstones
with the cover off showing the runner millstone sitting on the bed stone.
This pair of millstones should be able to be turned by hand to show visitors
the turning of the upper runner millstones and it should be able to be tentered.
In other words, raised and lowered to show the adjustment between both millstones
that regulates the coarseness or fineness of the grind. There should be
one pair of millstones apart for millstone dressing. This would mean at
least one millstone crane (the mill should have at least two a lifted runner
stone off of the millstones spindle showing the grinding surface, a bed
stone showing the grinding surface, and the tools used in millstone dressing
(a proof staff, paint staff, mill pick or mill bill and thrift, furrowing
stick or straight edge and brush). The final pair of millstones can be represented
for interpretive proposes by two clear pieces of glass or plexiglass with
the furrows of the bed and runner stones marked on each representing millstone.
These stones can be viewed because of the back light from the basement that
would show the crossing and scissors cutting action of the millstone furrows
that does the grinding action.
The first floor can contain the following mill machinery and museum items.
In the area in front of the millstones to the second floor steps a scales
bin for weighing the grain and a flour packer with a wooden flour barrel.
This would be of the earlier Oliver Evans style of a long arm or lever that
would compress the flour into a wooden barrel. The water wheel pit can be
viewed from this area. It can be a whole or partially constructed water
wheel. Who is to say that the mill could not represent a day in time where
a new wooden water wheel is being installed in the mill. This would allow
for the interpretation of all of the various parts of a breast shot water
wheel. The wooden apron or breast could be seen that would normally be hidden,
as well as, the water wheel shaft and gudgeons, water wheel arms, shrouding
or rim boards, cant boards, buckets, drum boards. The process is then shown
for constructing and making the parts with the various tools displayed.
Several drawing of the complete water wheel could be represented on period
The final item of the first floor mill machinery and museum items would
be the miller's office. The chimney is restored with a period stove. The
mill would be open during the warm months of the year and there should be
no need for a stove that would function and present any fire problems with
the structure or Fire Marshall inspection. In the office would be the miller's
desk, ledgers, records, paper, writing materials such as feather quills
and ink, tools, bench, books (a copy of "The Young Mill-Wright's &
Miller's Guide"), supplies, aprons, scoops, stencils, barrel branding
irons, new wooden gear teeth, lubricants, a water barrel and tin cup, hat
The second floor can contain the a flour bolter (sifter) restored. the attic
floor can contain a block and tackle mounted on the underside of the sack
hoist hood above the Dutch doors. This is the last of the flour mill machinery
D. Conclusion And Interior Options: Several years ago I made an
extensive tour of the grist mills of Perry County, Pennsylvania. My companion
was the late Charles Howell (1926-1993). We used as a guide a small booklet
on the mills of Perry County (a similar booklet is available on covered
bridges), and the classic county history book: "Perry County Grist
Mills, 1762-1978," by the late Eugene E. Eby, The Triangle Press Inc.,
Penbrook, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1978. Mr. Howell like myself was a master
miller, millwright, milling consultant, and millstone dresser. Together
we both have spent our lives working in both commercial and public flour
and grist mills. Charlie and I had read both of these publications cover
to cover, over and over again. It was not evident from our reading but after
we both had begun to see a number of 1700's mills that were still standing
in the county (at that time), we came to an interesting conclusion. The
mills that we saw that were constructed in the 1700's before the improvements
of Oliver Evans, they still had their characteristics of a pre-Oliver Evans
mill with the millstones feeding to meal boxes, lighter staffs to tenter
the millstones, and a sack hoist. These mills were constructed, operated
and never saw the improvements brought about by Oliver Evans. The mills
missed a stage in the development of flour milling and remained the same
until the introduction of the roller milling process and the desire by the
American household for Minneapolis style flour.
I almost have the same gut feeling about Barnitz Mill. It was built in and
around the time of Oliver Evans but it was a manual labor mill of the old
"sack and back" method of flour milling. I believe that Barnitz
Mill had 4 pairs of millstone feeding to meal boxes, lighter staffs to tenter
the millstones, and a sack hoist. There was a vertical shaft in the mill
that ran to the attic that operated a sack hoist and possibly flour bolters
on the second floor. But the second floor was also full of grain and flour
bins also. The attic may have been located underneath the eaves. The mill
may have been full of manual labor that moved the grain and flour from place
to place and the only automated device was the sack hoist. I could not find
any evidence that the earlier operation of Barnitz (Weakly's) Mill had elevators.
Removing some of the later fabric of the structure may reveal the presence
of elevators and other things.
Our educational and interpretive efforts in recent years has been increasingly
moving towards a hands-on approach to education. When I worked for the National
Park Service increasingly over the years when teachers would call and schedule
a field trip they would ask if we had any hands-on items for the kids. The
second floor could contain the following hand-on items:
A table top model of a bolter. This small bolter would have plexiglass
sides and contain one screen (window mesh) that would sift out a mixture
of baby powder and saw dust. Baby powder would be preferable over plaster
of paris because it does not lend itself to vandalism like something that
can be wet and then turns hard like cement. A conveyor or auger can also
be set up that can be operated by a crank. The bolter would show visitors
how a mixture of the fine flour and coarser bran would be sifted or bolted
apart by screens.
A table top model of a elevator. A smaller than average size elevator
that would use actual size elevator cups and belting and perhaps a conveyor
or auger. It would have plexiglass sides and contain one elevator belt with
cups turning over two wooden pulleys, a chute and conveyor, that would move
a small size fish tank gravel. The gravel would represent either corn or
wheat and not present health or insect problems if real grain was used.
A mortar and pestle is one of the earliest forms of milling devices.
It remained in common use into the modern era. A simple mortar can be made
from a hollow tree section and a pestle fashioned out of a limb with a large
burr on the end. Grain would be used in this hands on demonstration but
A quern. A quern is a simple form of rotary grist mill, consisting
of a stationary lower bed millstone and an upper runner millstone usually
rotated by hand with the aid of a stick or lever fastened to the upper stone
in a hole. This was the first form of hand powered mill. It spread throughout
Europe and most of the rest of the world. The quern shows how two millstones,
one of them moving in a circular manner, could do a better job of milling
and with less expenditure of muscle than any previous form of mill (such
as saddle stone, mortar and pestle, etc). Within time animal power and then
wind and water power was applied to turn the millstones. A pair of millstones
can be purchased from the Meadows Mill Company, Meadows Mills, Inc., North
Wilksboro, NC 1-800-626-2282. Then fashion the table and other simple parts
needed to construct a quern. Real corn would have to be used (vacuumed up
and tossed out at the end of the day).
A corn sheller is a good hands on activity for school children. It
should only be done under adult supervision and otherwise the corn sheller
should be chained and locked or tied with a rope. Eared corn can be stored
in trash cans with tight lids, and thrown out when finished. A vacuum cleaner
is necessary to clean kernels from cracks in floor. Generally one ear of
corn per student works best and allows then to shell their ear of corn.
This can be combined with a table top grain mill. A variety of hand crank
operated grain mills are on the market for sale that can be bolted to a
table edge. They range from mills with metal burr or stone burr plates.
A metal or wooden tub is placed under the grain mill. Allow the student
to turn the handle several times to grind the grain. A simple hand sifter
or "temse" is a hand sieve for dressing flour to make it fine
by hand sifting. They are either round or square in form with an open top
and bottom. On the bottom is attached either bolting cloth, screen or woven
cloth. A simple one can be made for student use with 1 by 4 cut and assembled
into an 12 by 12, or 18 by 18 inch square frame. A simple window screen
from a hardware store is about the right size mesh (approximately 16 mesh)
for sifting out corn and wheat bran. This can be stapled to the bottom and
then the edge covered with thin strips of wood.
The medieval German method of bolting was to put the ground material into
a bag and the bag boy would beat the bag on a table and the fine flour would
come through the weave of the bag and the larger coarser bran would remain
inside. The next stage in Germany was tube milling, where a cloth sock or
tub was attached to the millstones in place of a wooden chute. The other
open end was attached to an outside wall of the mill usually over the tail
race. The sack boy would hit the sock with a stick and the sifted flour
would fall onto the floor while the larger bran would fall into the stream.
This method advanced to an automated stick powered from the mill machinery
during the American Colonial period. Another term that was developed for
bolting was "flogging," because the flour was produced by a flogging
method. In colonial America the term for flour sifting was spelled "boulting,"
and later the "u" was dropped from the word.
A flail and winnowing basket. A simple flail can be constructed and
a basket maker can make a winnowing basket or someone make a winnowing tray.
A canvas drop cloth can be laid down on the second floor or outside of the
mill on the ground to demonstrate the operation of a flail and winnowing
basket. A simple flail can be easily made with two stick and a piece of
rope. Sometimes a sheet was used for winnowing.
Applied Science-Mechanics. There are many simple machines that are
used in the mill that can be made into hands-on devices for visitors. Care
must be taken so these devices are constructed so fingers do not get caught
or crushed. Examples are the lever, the wedge, the incline plane, the screw,
and different types if gears from spur gears, to lantern pinions, etc. All
of these devices can be made into hands-on examples and then shown how they
are actually used in the real mill. A good example of how these are exhibited
can be found in the Miller's House at the Colvin Run Mill. You can write
them for a copy of Applied Science-Mechanics program. Colvin Run Mill, Route
7 and 10017 Colvin Run Rd., Great Falls, Virginia 22066, 703-759-2771.
There are several films that could be purchased and shown on 16mm film
or video. One is "The Mill at Philipsburg Manor." It is a
20 minute film that shows the year-round operation of a colonial mill by
the miller and his apprentices. This was filmed and produced by Sleepy Hollow
Restorations, Sleepy Hollow, New York. "Waterground" is a 20 minute
film that shows the operation of old time country mills, namely the Winebarger
Mill located in Meat Camp, North Carolina, and White's Mill, Abington, Virginia.
This is produced by Ashop Films of Kentucky. "I am Wheat" an animated
film with a talking grain of wheat explains the operations of a flour mill
and how wheat is sifted into different types of flour. This film is produced
by Pyramid Films and the Miller's Federation in Washington, D.C. Others
are available by the US Wheat. "Water Mills Monuments to the Past,"
is a 6 minute 40 second film that shows why water mills were important,
why they disappeared and why they should be preserved. This film is produced
by the education department of John Deere in Moline and it is part of a
longer film called "Farming Frontiers." There are a number of
other films that are available on 16mm or video format. American Lifestyles
Series film entitled the "Grist Miller, Today and Yesterday."
is a documentary film showing the Stillwater Grist Mill in Stillwater, New
A class room area can be set up on the second floor for films, puppet
shows, volunteer functions, etc. Exhibits of Oliver Evans system of
automated flour milling could be made of panels, also models of an Oliver
Evans mill, millstone operation, different types of water wheels. A water
wheel model would show different types of water wheels such as the undershot,
breast shot and overshot. A number of good museum exhibits models can be
seen at the Hagley Museum and Library, P.O. Box 3630, Wilmington, Delaware
19807-0630 (302) 658-2400. There are models of a Greek or Norse Mill, a
cutaway of a pair of millstones with the runner millstone turning, a mill
representing what it looked like before the improvements of Oliver Evans,
an Oliver Evans Mill model, different types of water wheels operating in
a series model, a cutaway of a water turbine, and a number of models relating
to the gunpowder and textile industry. The pre-Oliver Evans model cost 50
thousand dollars and the Oliver Evans model cost 100 thousand dollars. It
is in a glass case perhaps 5 feet high and 6 feet long and both models have
complete moving parts. In Oliver Evans model has a button that can be pushed
to show a series of red flashing lights following the path of grain and
flour throughout the mill. These are models of extreme cost and in a museum
setting and environment . Barnitz Mill does not have a museum environment
for this category of models at this time. Barnitz Mill should have something
more visitor friendly and more interactive with the visitor. An exhibit
can be made from items (that can be donated) such as period flail, winnowing
basket or tray, wheat cradle, and period tools used in grist mills such
as ledgers, mill picks, small beam scales, hand truck, scoops, wooden grain
shovel, etc. One or two female Mill Cats would go a long way in creating
the atmosphere of a real mill. Since the mill would not grind grain for
human consumption there should be no law preventing examples of rodent control
running around the mill.
A Meadows stone buhr mill could be purchased new or used and used outside
of the mill during festivals to grind grain. Their address is The Meadows
Mill Company, 1352 West D Street, Post Office Box 1288, North Wilksboro,
North Carolina 28659, (800) 626-2282, (336) 838-2282. They are also a source
for Meadows Stone Buhr Mills, custom made millstones, mill picks (steel
mill picks and carbide tipped mill picks). A design could be made and flour
sacks printed up and used or sold as souvenir items at the mill.
Suggestions for souvenir Items sold at the mill. Some items that could be
sold at the mill are post cards (restored pictures of the exterior and interior
of the mill, historical photographs), empty flour sacks. Flour sold in Barnitz
Mill flour sacks that would be made by a local commercial mill but this
might require a deep freezer on the second floor in the flour room. The
most expensive cost of a 2 pound sack of corn meal or flour is the cost
per sack. The actual cost of the grain product is nothing compared to the
packaging. Children's books that deal with flour and grain. There are several
punch out children books of wind and water mills that could be sold. Books
on mills technology and crafts. Poster or posters that show the mill's machinery
and or mill's operation. Keep it simple and all items sold should be done
with the Dickinson's Township's approval.
Barnitz Mill Brochure: A good history should be done first and then
a brochure written about the mill and how it functioned. Generally with
flour and grist mills the standard formula is the front side is used for
the history of the mill. This shows pictures or drawings of the mill today,
historical photographs of the mill and mill owners and operators and gives
a simple friendy upbeat history of the mill. On the back side is generally
used to show the operation of the mill. A decision has to be made if it
should show the mill's operation with a breast shot water wheel and millstones
and or also with the roller mills and water turbines. My feeling it that
you can't tell the whole story on the folder. The visitor may just pick
up the folder and leave. If the mill is being restored to represent the
water wheel and millstone era of the mill's history then that is what should
be shown on the folder. This operation and the mill's later changes in operation
can be show and demonstrated within the mill. Mill folders come and go.
I have seen the changes and evolution of mill folders within just one mill.
Some have started out with colored paper and photo copying and folded into
a brochure. I have seen others use the same folder over 20 to 40 years and
only changing photos of the millers during each reprinting. I have seen
slick folders printed with several colors and then change to full color.
My favorites are the ones that open up and become full size wall posters,
but they are folders sold and not handed out for free. When I worked with
the National Park Service our folders were budgeted out according to how
many visitors we had each year. The formula they used was one out of every
10 visitors would actually take one home and read it. Then they printed
folders based on our yearly visitation.
Themes: When I worked for the National Park Service it was always
drummed into us, what is the theme of this site? Or does that fit into our
theme? Certainly one of the themes of Barnitz Mill should be milling. There
was a flour mill or merchant mill and in addition to that a saw mill, a
copper mill, and a fulling mill. The operation of each one of these processes
is different and can be explained in exhibits and models. Another theme
of Barnitz Mill could be "Milling along the Yellow Breeches Creek."
This would include the Enck's or Cumberland Mill. The head race of Enck's
mill is a half a mile long and water flowed through two separate mill buildings
of two equal or mirrored sections. Two breast shot water wheels each operated
a separate mill identical to the other each operating two sets of millstones.
The theme of "Milling along the Yellow Breeches Creek," can take
the shape of a folder with map and text explaining the history of each mill.
Also this can be expanded into a booklet or book entitled "Milling
along the Yellow Breeches Creek." Another form is a panel with a map
of the Yellow Breeches Creek with the locations of each mill. It can be
simply wired with lights that show the location along the stream when a
button is pushed. Another possibility is a diorama with a model of each
mill. The theme of "Milling along the Yellow Breeches Creek,"
can be expanded to mills of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania Mills, mills
of the mid Atlantic States, and the history of flour milling.
The theme of "Milling along the Yellow Breeches Creek," would
include the changes in milling technology. Another theme of course would
be "water power." Exhibits can focus on the different types of
mill power. This would include human power, animal power, wind power, water
power, tidal power, etc. The differences between water mills and wind mills
can be explained. In a water mill water flows on the ground so the water
wheel is close to the ground and the power goes up to operate the millstones.
In a wind mill wind is in the air so the wind wheel is high in the air to
catch the wind, and the power comes down to operate the millstones. Water
mills do not have breaks but wind mills do so when the wind speed increases
too much the sails are turned out of the wind and them are locked down with
a break wheel to prevent the sails from turning and damaging the mill. Most
people when you mention "tidal" powered mill have no idea of how
a tidal powered mill would operate. Themes can be very basic for school
children like what is wheat, that wheat is a food stuff, or how the mill
fits into the process from the farmer's field to the bakery. Most people
today have no idea how flour is made let alone ever been in a flour mill
(operating or non-operating). Other programs can have themes like crafts
and trades of the area or of a time period, and more specific like what
trades and craftsman it took to construct, operate and maintain Barnitz
Mill as an operating flour mill.
Concepts: When I have worked in operating flour and grist mills that
were open to the public the most important concept that I felt should be
explained to the visitors is the grinding action of the millstones. Most
visitors came into the mills with the misconception that two millstones
(rocks) mash the grain into flour. It is called "stone ground"
because you end up with pieces of stone in you flour and meal, and possibly
the reason the whole world switched to roller process flour is not to have
stone ground up into your flour. This is just not so. The millstones never
touch, most people don't know that. One millstones turns while the other
one is stationary. There are grooves in the millstone's grinding surface
called furrows. When you take the two millstones apart and look at both
stones together the pattern is identical. But when you place the one millstone
on the millstone spindle and it rotates the furrow pattern is reversed from
the top to the bottom stone and a scissors action is created that cuts the
grain. Each kernel of grain enters between the millstones gets cut by hundreds
of crossing furrows in its circular path outward. The distance between the
two millstones determine the coarseness or fineness of the grind. This is
Operating the mill is like operating a machine in a machine shop. You have
the same controls: feed, speed and cut. Feed is the amount of grain going
into the millstones. The more feed, the slower it will run. Then you have
cut, the distance between the millstones that determines how course or fine
the grain is being ground. Then you have speed. The amount of water going
over the water wheel. The more water the faster it will run and less water
the slower it will run. This is all balanced out by the amount of grain
the miller wants to grind in a set amount of time and it is effected by
the amount of moisture found in the grain.
Still another concept is that buckwheat is not a member of the wheat family,
it is not a grain or a grass but an herb. Its closest relatives are rhubarb
and morning glory. It grows on a flowering plant and its pollen produces
buckwheat honey. It is used as a cereal grain but in many ways it is very
different. Buckwheat has no gluten (which makes bread rise) and is used
to make pancakes, noodles, and cookies, and is nature's highest source of
protein in the plant kingdom. It builds up the immune system but it has
a strong taste and not everyone likes it. An important concept in working
in a mill is knowing that the dust from wheat is more explosive than gunpowder
and 35 times more explosive than coal dust. Wheat, rye, oats, and barley
have explosive dust but corn and buckwheat do not.
The hardest concept to explain is the operation of the roller mill system.
The passage of grain between or through the roller system that would entail
anywhere from a half a dozen pair of rollers to possibly a dozen or a dozen
and a half would be equal to the passage of grain between two pairs of millstones.
The process of milling between a single pair of millstones is called "American"
or "flat" milling. The "new process" milling grain between
a series of millstone or roller is called, "gradual reduction."
The grain is gradually reduced for milling into flour rather than by a single
or sudden passage between one pair of millstone. In between each passage
of the rollers the material is sifted to remove any flour that may have
been produced and the rest is sent on for another passage between the next
set of rollers. The first series of rollers have saw tooth corrugations
and these rollers are called "break" rollers. The next series
and the last series are smooth and these are called "reduction"
and "germ" rollers. Each roller mill had a different arrangement
of machines and the flour that was produced was called "patent flour."
That is because each mill produced their flour by a "patented"
The grinding surface of the roller mills is a thin line between the two
rollers were they come in close contact, and the grinding surface of the
millstones is the area of the millstone's circle [pi r2 (pi the ratio of
a circumference of a circle to its diameter (3.14159) times the radius squared].
To determine the horse power required per millstone you multiply the revolutions
per minute times the area of the stone in square inches (working surface),
and divide that by 33,000 pounds and the sum is the required horse power.
A more elaborate formula would factor in the weight of the stone, pressure
per square foot, the specific gravity of the stone, the capacity of the
stone per hour (in either barrels or hundred weight), the running under
load versus empty consumption of power, feed of stones (more or less), and
the condition of the stones (sharp of dull). To measure the needed horse
power with roller mills you use the measurement of the rollers linear surface.
Millstones take about 60 percent of the mill's available power to operate
and roller mills require about 40 percent. To calculate the needed horsepower
to operate a mill you need to add up the grinding surface of the mill and
plug that into a formula.
A simple problem can be done with school children to measure the flow of
water in a stream. You make an approximate measurement of a stream profile
(Its width times is approximate depth and figure out the area of a slice
of the stream. Then you throw a floating object in the stream (like a stick
or log) and measure how far it travels in an amount of time. If it moved
20 feet in 10 or 20 seconds calculate it out to how far it could move in
one minute and them multiply how many cubic feet per minute the stream flows.8
This basic measurement of a stream a millwright would make to determine
if a stream could support or operate a mill. Horse Power= Cubic feet per
minute x 62.125 (weight per cubic foot of water) x Head (fall) divided by
Rollers operate in pairs like millstone. One roller is rotating slower than
the faster turning roller. The slower pair of rollers is called the "holding
roller," and the other roller is cutting the "cutting roller."
If both rollers were operating at the same speed the material would tend
to pass between them relatively unharmed. Rollers were not the ultimate
grinding machine, and the break rollers need to be removed once every two
or three years to be regrooved by a machine shop. Since the second World
War some people have looked for another means of grinding grain. They have
tried passing the grain over a stainless steel plate and exposing it to
high pressure burst of air and laser light but the roller mill and the millstone
methods have worked the best. To explain the roller system some mills have
an extra non operational roller stand. These mills will take the roller
mill top housing off so visitor can see the two double pairs of rollers.
Some mills will have one or two pairs of rollers out of a mill and others
may have some industrial chart or flow diagram to explain the process. Roller
mills and rollers are heavy. Fingers can get pinched between metal rollers.
Wooden pairs of rollers can be made for models and demonstration purposes.
The best method of explaining the roller system is simply to keep it simple
otherwise you may loose a lot of visitor's interests.
There is a lot of material that can be reproduced that is in the public
domain from old milling books, text books, trade catalogs, milling journals
(magazines) and from such agencies such a US Wheat, Kansas Wheat, and the
Miller's Federation. These can be used for display material without paying
for a graphics artist to do the work. In time you could create a list of
20 most common visitor asked questions and answers. This could be developed
into a volunteer handbook at some future date.
o Note portions of the text from Section Number Three: Various
Options and Structural Repairs of the FEASIBILITY RESTORATION STUDY for
the BARNITZ MILL (JAMES WEAKLEY MILL)Yellow Breeches Creek, Dickinson
Township, Cumberland County, Pine Road and Barnitz Mill Road, Mount Holly
Springs, Pennsylvania., by Theodore R. Hazen,1999.
o Note all the conceptual drawings of Barnitz Mill by T. R. Hazen
are drawn "freehand."
College Freshman Seminar: Historic Mill Restoration Fall 2000
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Copyright 1999 by T. R. Hazen