How did this mill actually work?

We keep asking ourselves this question as we find old machinery. We recently joined SPOOM (Society for the Preservation of Old Mills – North American & Canadian chapters) to help identify what each piece of equipment was used for and its correct name. The folks in these groups are a great resource!

One of our challenges is that quite a bit of the original equipment in the mill has been removed or relocated. We will do our best in the future to draw up how the mill originally functioned through section diagrams similar to this one. Titled “End Section of a Modern American Flour Mill”, this diagram was printed in the 1905 version of the The New International Encyclopedia, v. 7, under the heading “Flour”. While missing the water turbines in our basement, we recognize quite a few of the other pieces in this diagram from our inventory.

So far, we have identified in the original 1885 Stark’s Mill:

Fifth FloorUpper lineshaft, likely driving the dust collector?
Fourth FloorFull of flour blenders (4 long blenders remain); wooden grain feeder augers
Third FloorTop section of the flour bins – 8 total; sections of lineshaft
Second FloorLower lineshaft, likely had the roller mill (this was later relocated to the ground floor), Middlings purifier (1 remains), middle portion of flour bins – 7 total
First FloorFlour packer (previously removed), bottom cone of flour bins – 4 remain, scales (previously removed); turbine water flow-control crank; one roller mill
Grain silo buildingGrain cleaner, bucket elevator (some sections remaining), fanning mill (cleaner); 15 grain silos
Basement2 Barber turbines that had a combined power capacity of 125hp, complete with gear-driven lineshafts

Do you know someone who might remember more about the equipment that used to run the mill, and what was in where? We would love to hear from them to ensure that the section we are creating for Stark’s Mill is as accurate as possible. Please contact us with any new info!

The New International Encyclopædia, v. 7, 1905, “Flour,” facing p. 752. Public Domain

One thought on “How did this mill actually work?

  1. It was not running as a flour mill when I was young. I worked there after school etc. I might have a few things that would be of interest to you. Tom Stark

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