The All-Important Miller

Gristmill

During the 19th Century some carpenters and joiners began specializing as millwrights, an occupation formerly engaged in solely by the millers themselves (skilled craftsmen who owned or operated mills that ground grains into flours). One typical millwright’s advertisement read:  “Builder and joiner of saw mills, barley-mills, snuff-mills, corn-mills, tobacco mills, and mustard mills, all made to be operated either by water or by horse.” Millwrights of yesteryear were master craftsmen who completely designed and constructed mills, and executed every type of engineering operation in their construction, when water was the only natural power source. They performed the work of a civil engineer in designing the patterns of the water wheel systems, carving their gear mechanisms, and erecting the mill machines.  Small horse-power mills were built for private work around the farm, from sawing wood to threshing grain. 

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