Cellar, meal floor, stone floor, dust floor and cap – that’s how our mill is laid out. You’re now on the meal floor, where the miller carries out his work. He operates the mill, monitors the milling process and fills the flour into sacks.
When the friends’ group took over the mill in 1982, all they found was a bare bones structure of timber and stone. The building had to be completely restored from the ground up. The old beams were all that had survived of the original mill from 1824. Those are the eight oak posts, one in each of the tower’s corners. You have a great view of them from here. The body of the mill sits on an octagonal brickwork foundation, which is why an alternative German name for this type of smock mill is "Achtkanter" – eight-sided mill.
Let's move on to the machinery. You’ve probably been wondering how the heavy sacks of grain get from the cellar up to the stone floor, one level above where we are now. (Stone in the sense of millstone, incidentally.) The miller would hardly sling them over his shoulder and haul them up those narrow stairs! In the old days, a typical sack of grain weighed a hundred kilograms – 220 pounds.
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. Literally. Wind power is not only used to mill the grain, it also powers a sack hoist.
Have you noticed the wooden trap doors in the floor and the ceiling, just this side of the stairs? There’s a rope hanging down next to them. It’s all part of the sack hoist system. The sacks of grain are hauled up from the cellar to the stone floor with a sack hoist. And the full sacks of flour make their way back down into the cellar by the same route.
You’ll find out more about how the sack hoist works in the course of your tour.
Photos: © Dagmar Trüpschuch und Förderkreis Alte Mühle Donsbrüggen