Summary of articles in International Molinology No 98 which were published in June 2019

The bulk of this edition of IM was devoted to the mill tours which accompanied the 15th TIMS Symposium in Berlin.

Berlin Symposium Pre-Tour to Sachsen, Zittauer Gebirge and Lausitz, by various authors.

This tour, led by Gerald and Dietmar Bost, was set in the far eastern part of Germany (formerly GDR), starting down near the Polish border at Zittau. On the way we stopped at our first mill, the Windmühle Straupitz, a complex of a corn mill, a saw mill and an oil mill. Restoration began in the 1990s and now the whole complex is again in working order, and along with its restaurant is a popular attraction. The second day began in Oderitz at the Fermann-Mühle, a large watermill typically modernised with a Francis turbine and roller mills. Next was a very large post mill, the Berndt-Mühle from 1787. Post mills in Germany were heavily modernised in the late19th century, with patent sails set on iron crosses for ‘high grinding’ of rye with rollers, trieurs, bolters, elevators etc. Then followed the Berthold-Mühle, now powered by electricity like so many watermills in the area where water resources have become insufficient. This is a fully commercial mill with pneumatic carriage. A short walk took us to another post mill, the Neumann Mühle, again so large it required supporting wheels at the base of the buck (so transforming it into a paltrock mill). The third day of the tour was mostly spent at the millstone quarries of Kurort Jonsdorf, which worked commercially until 1919 when one of their biggest markets, in Russia, closed due to trade restrictions. There was still time for one mill, another working post mill at Kottmarsdorf, where there are a pair of ‘hopper boys’ for cooling the fresh meal. The fourth day began at Sohland Mühle, another post mill restored by the local municipality, then a visit to the very large watermill, the Gustav Ritter-Neumühle. This commercial mill is capable of producing 10 tons a day and has been awarded as the “cleanest mill in the world”. A visit to the Moravian Star factory at Hernhuth was followed by the very interesting Hetzemühle, a truly massive post mill which formerly had 5 sails. The last mill of the day was the Lawalde Niedermühle, powered by turbine and now preserved as a ‘technical monument’. The final day of the Pre-Tour saw only one mill, the Riegel Mühle at Nechern, with its Zuppinger-type waterwheel. The bus then left for a guided tour around the city of Dresden before moving on to Berlin.

Symposium Excursions.

Not all the Symposium delegates were able to attend the associated Pre- and Post-Tours, so two days of mill/museum excursions were arranged, all based around the city of Berlin. Due to the number of delegates two coaches were arranged for the first day, taking different routes to reduce the numbers in the mills. The first mill (for some) was the unusual barn mill in Saalow, built by a local carpenter in 1864. This was followed by a visit to Potsdam, the home of the very large Historiche Mühle (or Sanssouci Windmill). The lower floors were all dedicated to displays, but the upper floors contained real mill machinery. Next we moved back to Berlin for the Marzhan post mill, managed (and partly restored) by Jurgen Wolf. A drive across the city took us to the Britzer Muhle, a splendid 12 sided smock mill, where an evening meal had been arranged for the delegates. The second day of excursions involved only one destination, the Deutsches Tecknikmuseum (German Museum of Technology). Formerly one of the city’s main train terminals, the site was transformed into a rail museum but now holds displays on all forms of technology, industry and engineering. This includes mills, and we visited a fully restored post mill, a partly restored Dutch smock mill and a working forge (with undershot water wheel).

Berlin Symposium Post-Tour to Niedersachsen and Braunschweig.

This tour was led by Rüdiger Hagen and Gerald Bost, and centred around the city of Braunschweig (Brunswick) in the former West Germany. It began with a city walk in Wolfenbüttel, the home town of the famous millwright company of Luther & Peters. The whole city seemed dedicated to mills, millstone manufacture and mill engineering. The second day started at the ancient watermill of Erkerode, full of machinery and complicated English style gearing. Next was the village of Räbke where there were formerly eight mills. Of the remaining two, we visited the Liesebach Mühle, with gearing by Luther & Peters and now fully restored. This was followed by a visit to the post mill at Dettum, where the volunteer group was setting the common sails for us. These post mills all had little bedrooms for the miller, with walls made of wattle and dub to help keep out the cold. The next mill, at Hedeper, was a tower mill preserved as a technical monument, superbly situated on top of a hill. The last mill of the day was the five-sail tower mill of Wendhausen, built in 1837 by the Leeds firm of Fenton & Murray. The next day saw a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Museum of Mining at Rammelsberg. The molinological interest here was the use of water power to drive pumps, raise ore and carry miners up and down (in ‘man engines’). The memorable trip down the mine showed us the double water wheels, capable of driving in either direction. We then moved on to the industrial complex of Königshütte at Bad Lauterburg, formerly the iron and bronze foundries of the Elector of Hanover, then sold to the millwrights Peters of Wolfenbüttel. Here we saw foundries, machine shops and a large corn mill at the rear of the site. The third day had one destination, the unique Internationales Mühlenmuseum at Gifhorn. Here there are restorations and recreations of all forms of mills from around the world including post, smock and tower windmills, horizontal and vertical watermills, a horse mill and a boat mill. The fourth day began at the smock mill called Paula, at Steinhude, now fully operational. The next was the very traditional post mill at Dudensen, with cloth sails and double quarter bars. At Laderholz watermill there are two waterwheels, one above the other, then to another watermill at Vesbeck which has been moved twice. The last mill of the day was the open trestle post mill at Wettmar, with one pair of common sails and one pair of patents. The following morning we visited the large stone-built tower mill at Wichringhausen. This has an amazing power transmission in the basement, driving all the pulleys and shafts further up in the mill. Our next stop was Stadthagen to see a watermill, now disused, but was once part of a brewery. Full of ‘modern’ milling machinery, but still with the old water wheel from an earlier building. The last visit of the day (and the whole Post-Tour) was to the pair of forge mills at Exten. The Upper Forge is still undergoing refurbishment, and the Lower Forge is completely full of early 20th century metal working equipment.

Milling Around in Gloucestershire by M J A Beacham.

Following Mike Beacham’s two part analysis of the business affairs of a Gloucestershire mealman in the early 19th century, this article explores the movement of corn mill workers during that period. Using census reports the author has been able to track the movements of individuals from mill to mill, and also how often and how far they moved.

Magic and mills: case study, the last watermill on the Iza river, Maramureş, Romania by Adrian Scheianu.

Adrian is a curator at the Astra Open Air Museum at Sibiu, site of our 14th Symposium. His article explores the relationship between traditional milling technology and the magic and myths that surrounded it. Particularly he centres on the watermill of Dănilă Mecleş, the last one of its kind in Săcel, and information provided by Vasile Şuşcă, a craftsman and designer of traditional masks, and descended from a family of millers.

Repairing a Syrian Naura by Stephanos Nomikos.

This follows an article by Richard Brüdern on the Nauras of Hama and Damascus, published in IM98. In 2008 Stephanos visited Syria to view these monuments, and whilst travelling across country came across a pair of them still in working order. Of even greater interest was the fact that one was being refurbished by local craftsmen, and the author luckily recorded the event in notes and photographs.

An observation on Robbert & Sytske Verkerk’s article concerning the Moulins Chapelle, in Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg, France (Transactions of the TIMS Symposium, Sibiu, Romania 2015) by Christian Cussonneau.

Robbert & Sytske Verkerk’s paper delivered at Sibiu in 2015 prompted a question on the origin of the name ‘Moulins Chapelle’. The answer is provided here by Christian Cussonneau. Also, since there was an unfortunate printing problem with the axonometric drawings in Robbert & Sytske’s article in the 14th Transactions, they are reproduced here.


Also included in this edition of International Molinology are three book reviews. The first, by Gerald Bost, looks at the recent publication of the 4 volume Codex Madrid I of Leonardo da Vinci. This is the artist’s main work on technology and shows his amazing drawings of mills and mill gearing. The second, by Graham Hackney, is a review of the Mills Archive Trust publication ‘Mills at War’ by Ron and Mildred Cookson. This explores the many uses of mills in warfare, to feed armies (and besieged towns and garrisons), but also as signalling towers and muster points. The third, also by Graham Hackney, is a review of ‘Corn Watermills of the National Trust in England’ by Nigel S. Harris. This volume describes all of the 19 such mills in the ownership of the National Trust, and uses these as examples for descriptions of traditional milling technology.