A technical drawing illustrating the working of a mill, from the book
"Das Wasserrad" (the water wheel) by Professor Wilhelm Wölfel.
The hydraulic wheel was invented 2,000 years ago. For the first time in
history, it was possible to replace the force of man or animal by a natural
force. This important discovery is at the origin of an industrial revolution.
As the hydraulic wheel was first used in grist mills, all the factories
were later also called "mills".
Over the years, the milling technique in the grist mills has been adjusted
and perfected. Agostino RAMELLI depicted the mechanism of a grist mill in
his book "Le diverse et artificiose machine" in 1588. Later on,
RAMELLI's drawing was used as an illustration in many books about the technology
and history of mills.
The earliest known description of a vertical watermill is found in the
writings of Vituvius, a Roman engineer. The watermill shown in this illustration
is of the type designed by Vitruvius. In about 2,000 B.C. the Romans made
great strides carrying water long distances by aqueducts and master other
hydraulic arts. They had adopted the horizontal mill from the Greeks but
were dissatisfied with its degree of efficency. The first mention of the
vertical mill similar to the ones of early America, and that still exist
scattered around the world, is found in his writings of this Roman engineer.
Vituvius described the new type of mill in documents made public between
the years 20 to 11 B.C.
This type of mill involved a vertical water wheel fastened to a horizontal
drive shaft. To carry the power to the millstones, gears were used, changing
the direction of the drive 90 degrees. Later developments came with canging
the gearing to increase the speed of the spindle on which the runner stone
was supported. This type of mill described by Vituvius was the most common
for centuries to come and arrived with the first settlers along with the
Greek design, to North America.
Drawing lower left: A Baker Mill.
Drawing lower right: A Hand-Operated Grist Mill. A from of a quern.
The 1941 Fitz Water Wheel Company reconstruction more closely resembled
the (post-colonial Oliver Evans) Beckman's Mill (circa 1783-1910) as seen
above, than the eariler 1684 (colonial) Philipse (Flypse) Mill. It was not
until the year 1839, did the old Philipse or Beckman Mill repaired, and
most modern improved machinery for cleaning grain and bolting flour were
added with to the three pairs of millstones. The latest restoration of the
mill see: Philipsburg
Mill at Philipsburg
Manor, Historic Hudson Valley, a.k.a. Sleppy Hollow Restorations,
Sleepy Hollow, a.k.a. North Tarrytown, New York.
The word Millenium has the word Mill in it. Windmills were present in
Persian times, three Millenia ago. Watermills were present in Roman, Greek
and Armenian times, two Millenia ago. Tidal powered mills, boat or floating
mills, and windmills in Europe were present one Millenia ago. May the history
be written for the next Millenia also with the word "Mill," in
it. In T.H. White books: The Sword in the Stone (1938), The Witch in the
Wood/The Queen of Air and Darkness (1939), The Ill-Made Knight (1940) &
The Candle in the Wind, The Once and Future King (1958), and The Book of
Merlyn (1977). Merlyn is a time-traveler, he lives backward, so that he
knows the future but cannot remember the past. Melin is the Welsh work for
"mill," because a mills is something magical or mysterious. The
annual Weilsh Mills Group Journal is called "MELIN ." It is very
similar to the word: Merlyn (Myrddin).