Grist Mills, Grain Mills and Historic Mill Museums

by Rena

Ancient grist mills automated

In the 1780s Oliver Evans of Delaware invented a grist mill design that was more efficient. Before this, grist mills hadn’t changed their design since the Middle Ages. He was the 3rd person to be granted a patent by the newly opened American Patent Office. Out of necessity in the 1790s many grist mill owners switched to Evan’s grist mill design to stay competitive in the marketplace.

His design included a hopper to process and dry grain, automated conveyances, and other updates.

1830s Grist mills locations unlimited to water supply

By the 1830s mills were powered by steam engines, and no longer had to be located on a river to generate power.

In 1850 there were over 100,000 gristmills. Because people had to visit the mill weekly to get their flours, the local mill became a social event. Now there are fewer than 1,000 mills in the United States, but some are open to the public. Like

If you’d like to visit one, here is a partial list:

More Mills:
See the wikipedia site for List of Water Mills, tidemills, and Gristmill

See Threshing and Milling post

Reference:
* Gristmills, Grinding grain, preserving history by Marti Attoun. American Profile. Harold Rapp, president of the Society for the Preservation of Old Mills.

* Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine, by Andrew F. Smith, 2009

* The Young Mill-Wright and Miller’s Guide, by Oliver Evans, 1795

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