We were so proud when our association received an award from the North Rhine-Westphalia Foundation in 1997! It was the special Award for the Preservation of Historical Monuments in a state competition called "Making our Village more Beautiful"! It was quite a statement, because the preservation of Donsbrüggen Old Mill as a working piece of engineering heritage has been, and is, only possible thanks to our efforts.
It was local miller Johann Wilhelm Fallier who built the mill and started running it 1824. If you look in the display case, you can see the old miller's sign. In keeping with the original Dutch design, the mill had four lattice sails spread with sailcloth.
In 1904, those lattice sails were replaced by slatted sails. The slats could be opened or closed, depending on how strong the wind was. The fantail was mounted on the cap at the same time.
The windmill passed to Alois Fallier in 1930.
In the 1950s, the market for flour in Germany was over-supplied, prices were low, and production had become uneconomic. Smaller mills shut down, including Donsbrüggen Mill, which ceased operations in 1956. But still, Alois Fallier continued to maintain his mill. In 1963, the mill tower, which had previously been faced with tar paper, was re-covered in oak shingles. The sweep was also brought up to date with Bilau ventisails. If you’d like to know more about the design of these sails, please access stop number 2.
It wasn’t until 1982 that our association awakened the mill from its deep slumber. For a symbolic price of one German mark, the friends group leased it from Alois Fallier. The mill was restored in accordance with heritage conservation rules and brought back into operation in 1985.
Some members of our association even trained with a miller in the Dutch town of Groesbeck to learn the finer points of the trade. Since then, that knowledge about the mill and our collaborator, the wind, has been passed on to other members of our friends’ group.
Photos: © Dagmar Trüpschuch und Förderkreis Alte Mühle Donsbrüggen