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The Best Example of an Oliver Evans' Mill in North America.

The Best Example of an Oliver Evans's Mill in North America
The Kline Mill built in 1794,
with machinery designed by Oliver Evans in 1795

Oliver Evans' Kline Mill


The mill was the first engine devised by man, and for centuries mills driven by wind or water were the only complex machines that could translate natural power into useful work (Early American Life, April, 1973, p. 18)

Oliver Evans

Oliver Evans published The Young Millwright and Miller's Guide in 1795. His inventions revolutionized the milling industry.

Oliver Evans' automatic flour mill foreshadowed the industrial process by which Henry Ford would transform the world in the twentieth century. Oliver Evans is the founding father of the American Industrial Revolution. By designing a series of bucket elevators and screw conveyors, he built an integrated, automatic, industrial process: automatic machinery, which worked without human operators. Oliver Evans' conception of a factory itself as a machine resulted in a mill where you poured grain in one end, and flour came out the other. ("The Business of America, John Steele Gordon, Industrial Revolutionary, American Heritage, October 1992, pp. 18-20)

The Kline Mill

A Millwright & Engineer wrote the following to the current owners. "I have not seen a mill on the Evans' system, so complete as Kline's Mill. It is a miracle so much of the original equipment has survived. It is also a miracle that none of the equipment was modernized over the years.

In my opinion, Kline's Mill has got to be the most important Grist Mill in the United States of America. There is no other known example of an "Evans Mill" as complete as this one. It could become a study for students of milling and architecture, if you protect it and preserve it, as it is, for future generations. We will not get another chance as perfect as this one "

Unlike many mills in North America, the mill has remained virtually undisturbed since its last years of operation. Within its stone and log walls, the original machinery, first installed in 1795, remains in place. Kline's Mill was constructed based on the Evans' system. The mill contains a compete grain cleaning system, the original bolter, grain elevators, a hopper boy, a barrel packer and many other interesting features. Finding an intact mill based on the Evans' system is a rare find.

A Brief Description of the Milling Process

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, practically all the tasks of milling except turning the millstone were performed by hand. In Evans' revolutionary design, each floor served a specific function, and the grain was transformed into food in a continuous, smooth-running process.

Entering the mill on the second floor, where it was weighed by the miller, the grain was carried by an elevator made up of a long canvas belt with buckets attached every six inches, the whole of which was powered by the waterwheel, to a smutter where it was cleaned by tumbling and blowing. (This machine gets its name from a black fungus called smut which grows on grains. The smutter cleans away this fungus and other impurities.) From here the cleaned grain moved through a chute to the garners (storage bins) located on the third floor above each millstone area on the floor below. Grain was released from the garner into the hopper above the millstones where it automatically fell into the center of the stones for grinding. From there the flour was taken by another elevator to the fourth floor where it was dumped into the hopper boy for cooling and drying.

The dried flour then fell through a chute down to the bolting chest on the third floor. The bolting chest was a giant "sifter" that produced much finer flour than unbolted whole wheat flour. From there, the flour fell through one last chute to the second floor for either packaging or storage.

In the entire process, the miller had only to weigh the grain, check the mill equipment and millstones, and start the waterwheel!

See diagram of mill interior

The Oliver Evans System of Automatic Flour Milling,
from "The Young Mill-Wright & Miller's Guide,"
by Oliver Evans, 1795, plate 8.


The End of the Water Powers Era at Kline's Mill,
the Removal of the Water Wheel, Shaft, and Gearing.

Kline's Mill is located south of Winchester, Virginia, between Stephens City and (Middletown)
Strasburg, south of Vauclose, Virginia, off of Route 11, (east of Route 11 and Interestate 81)
along Kline's Mill Road and Ridings Mill Road, in Frederick County, Viginia.
Please Note: Kline's Mill is privately owned.
The mill has not been restored & is not open to the public.

This page is presented by Theodore R. Hazen & Pond Lily Mill Restorations

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Copyright 2002 by T. R. Hazen