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The Page Begins Here

by Oliver Evans






Represents an outside view of the water-end of a mill-house, and is intended to show the builders and mill-wrights, the height of the walls, floors and timbers, with the places of the doors and windows, and a view of the position of the stones and husk timbers, supporsing the wall open, so that we could see them.

Figs, 1, 2, 3, and 4, show the joists of the floors.
5-a weather-cock, turning on an iron rod.
6-the end of the shaft, for hoisting outside of the house, which is fixed above the collar beams over the doors, to hoist into either of them, or either story, at either end of the house, as may suit best.
7-the dark squares, showing the ends of the girders.
8-the joists over the water-house.
9-the mill-stones, with the spindles they run on, and the ends of the bridge-trees, as they rest on the brays aa, bb show the ends of the brays, that are raised and lowered by the levers cc, called the lighter-staffs, for raising and lowering the runner stone.
10-the water-wheel and big cog-wheel.
11-the wall between the water and cog-wheel.
12.-the end view of the two side walls of the house.
Plate XXII, is explained in the preface.


Problems with interpretation of
The Young Mill-Wright & Miller's Guide,
by Oliver Evans

The one person (mill-wright) that I ever met that knew the most about this period in milling history and technology (of Oliver Evans) was John B. Campbell (1890-1987). It was around the time that the Colivn Run Mill (circa 1810), Great Falls, Virginia, was restored that I met Mr. Campbell. He told me again and again, that one of the biggest problems with the interpretation of an Oliver Evans (1755-1819) book was, just because it was in the book-it should not be in the mill. Oliver Evans presented information on the state of the art on mill-wrighting at his time. Mr. Evans was not a trained mill-wright, but Thomas Ellicott (1738-1799) was. Mr. Ellicott presents the state of the art of mill-writhing up until the developemt of Oliver Evans improvements. So what one does with the knowedge presented in the "Guide," construct a mill with the drive train shown on Plates XXVII and Plate XXVIII.

The improved Automated Merchant Flour-Mill of Oliver Evans is meant to use Spur Gear Drive (type of two-step gearing) so several pair so of millstones could be arranged around a spur wheel according to its size, to operate two, three, four or five pairs of millstones. the miller operates the mill from the first floor where the millstones are. With one-step gearing, and two-step (known as Counter-Gearing) are mounted lower in the gear pit and are more subjectable to rot and decay. Using the Great Spur Wheel and Wallower of the Spur Gear Drive system, the gears are mounted higher up on shafts, so that water wheels of larger diameters was, of course, slower than a smaller water wheel, the millstones could be operated at more efficient speed. It is not practicable to build mills using Oliver Evans system of automated milling using the one-step and the two-step counter gearing. One-step and two-step counter gearing is from the age of wooden gears.

Several exceptions of metal use in counter gearing are: metal rungs in trundle gears at the Colvin Run Mill (restored counter-gearing),Great Falls, Virginia; metal gear teeth Newlen Mill (restored counter-gearing), Glen Mills (Media), Pennsylvania; and Slone's Grist Mill (all-metal counter gearing), Virginia, Explre Park, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 115.

Oliver Evans automated milling means the use of metal water wheels staft hubs, metal shafts, iron gears (pit, wallower, spur, stone nut gears) smaller metal gears and shafting on the upper floors of the mill. The use of metal gear housings holding wooden gear teeth engaging a metal tooth gear wheel. A new mill constructed with the Oliver Evans system would have incorperated the above mention gear systems. Only a mill that existed before Oliver Evans improvements and was adopted might still have had an earlier form of gearing.

NOTE: Volume 1, pages 142-143, section on "Flour Mills," of "The Operative Mechanic, and British Machinest: Being A Practical Display of The Manufactories and Mechanical Arts of the United Kingdon," by John Nicholson, Esq., Civil Engineer, 2nd American edition (3rd London, edition with additions) Philadelphia, T. Desilver, Jun. 247 Market Street, James Kay, Jun. & Co. Printers, 1831. Plate reproduced and description from (Andrew) Gray's "Experienced Millwright," shows an English mill with a pit wheel, wallower gear, great spur wheel and stone nuts driving the two pairs of millstones

That is why I really hated to use Thomas Ellicott's drawing with out an explaination. That is why it is called: "The Miller's Bible." It begins with Genesis and ends with Revelations. Thomas Ellicott is just some dude found in the Old Testament. The Luddites & the Grahamites are part of the New Testament business with the "Evils of Technology."

Theodore R. Hazen
Pond Lily Mill Restorations
22 June 1998


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