Flour Mill
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Photo of Flour Mill taken by G. Bowen.
Flour Mill, photo taken by G. Bowen

In the spring of 1998 this project began when Bob Hjetland and myself, Gary Bowen, began searching for flour milling machinery built in the 1885 era. After ads in several publications we found machinery in Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, and Illinois. Some of these machines had been removed from old flour mills and some we had to remove ourselves. With help from association members we removed and transported the machines to a storage area where restoration began.

As collection of the machinery was taking place the construction of the flour milling building began. Construction of a small 1885 flour mill was researched and plans were drawn by Bob H. The building is 25' x 30' and 3½ floors tall. The building was constructed from lumber sawed at the Thick and Thin sawmill on the show grounds. Dan Barrow donated logs used for sawing. It took nearly 3 years to complete.

Flat belts power all machinery in the building, and a 25' long line shaft is located on each floor. Running at full capacity the mill would require approximately 40 horsepower to operate all the machinery. Power for 1885 mills was water, steam, or wind. Through the years we have powered the mill with horses, a tractor, a steam engine and the last few years have been using an electric motor for demonstrations.

Photo of Starr Mill Starr Mill

During the 1880's the flour milling industry experienced development of the roller mill which could mill grain finer and faster then the stone method which dates back as early as 70 B.C. If flour mills had not converted to the roller mill process by the 1890's they were not able to compete in the industry.

A flour mill the size of this building would have contained 4 rollermills and produced 50 barrels per day (24 hrs.) (a barrel of flour weighs 196 lbs.)

For historic and display purposes we have combined three different types of 1880 era machines in the mill building.

The Starr 30" stone mill was built between 1850 - 1880. We purchased this mill in North Carolina. The mill, like all machinery, in the mill building was completely disassembled worn parts replaced or rebuilt, and wooden parts were stripped and refinished.

We have two Nordyke and Marmon, roller mills that were built in Indianapolis, Indiana between 1885 - 1890 and were referred to as the Mae West model. We purchased these machines in Brownstown, Indiana. Nordyke and Marmon were one of the largest manufactures of flour milling machinery in the world during the 1880's. They sold a complete line of flour milling machinery and would deliver, by railroad, a package of all machinery needed, including a steam engine for power to outfit your mill.

Our fourth mill is a Nordyke and Marmon 3 pair high roller mill and was designed for milling corn products. This is our oldest roller mill being built before 1880.

Photo of Nordyke and Marmon roller mill Photo of Nordyke & Marmon roller mill
Photo of Salem Sifter Bolting Machine Salem Bolting Machine (Sifter)

The Salem sifter or bolting machine was built by the Salem Manufacturing Company, of Salem, Virginia. We purchased this machine in Virginia. Elevators deliver the milled "chop" , from the mills on the first floor, to this sifter located on the 3rd floor.

The sifter has 5 separate compartments and each compartment has 4 sifting screens.

The sifter separates the wheat or corn chop according to the size of the sifting screen for the desired product.

It is located on the third (top) floor of the mill and will move the building when in operation.

There are many other operating machines in the building necessary to the milling process and will be operating at the Threshing Show and The Fall Festival.

If you would like a personally guided tour of the building just ask one of us when you come in. When you come to visit the mill please let us know if you visited this page on our web site.

Article about our flour mill in Farm Collector magazine

For more information, contact: e-mail: Gary Bowen (785) 484-3705