Antique roller mills and bran dusters used to bring century-old flour mill back to life
The Cottonwood Station Milling Co. at the Meriden (Kan.) Antique Engine & Threshers Assn. grounds.
Gary Bowen (left) and Bob Hjetland spent four years acquiring and restoring vintage milling equipment. The mill represents a typical small commercial mill from the 1880s.
Located on the mill’s third floor, this Salem bran duster used brushes and a cone-shaped sieve to dust off bran during the milling process.
A three-pair high roller corn mill built by Nordyke Marmon & Co. before 1880. By 1902, the Indianapolis-based company had begun manufacturing experimental automobiles, including the 1909 Model 32 Wasp, winner of the first Indianapolis 500 motor race.
Accidental fires and explosions caused by accumulated milling dust and overheated bearings posed a constant threat to flour mills in the 1800s. This Perfection dust collector, manufactured by Prinz & Rau Mfg. Co., Milwaukee, came out of a Nashville Milling Co. operation in southern Illinois. The device created a vacuum to collect milling dust in each of these 460 authentic cotton tubes, or socks, which had been preserved for years in sealed metal containers.
Two Nordyke Marmon & Co. roller mills displayed on the first floor of the Cottonwood Station mill. During the mid- to late 19th century, Nordyke Marmon sold and shipped the equipment needed for a small commercial flour mill, complete with a steam engine, for approximately $10,000 (about $250,000 in today’s terms). These “Mae West” model roller mills, built in the mid-1880s, were acquired from the Robertson Mill in Brownstown, Ind. By 1896 the model’s profile had been streamlined and the wooden access doors replaced by steel doors.
Among the vintage milling equipment acquired from the Spangler Mill in Floyd County, Va., was this Model No. 1 Monitor screening, polishing and separating machine, manufactured in the 1800s by Huntley Mfg. Co., Silver Creek, N.Y.
One of the newer pieces of equipment in the Cottonwood Station Mill, this Perfection cleaner, separator and grader was patented in 1887. It was manufactured by Lewis-Tuttle Mfg. Co., Topeka, Kan.
This Starr 30-inch stone mill, which may date to 1850, was also referred to as a plantation mill. It could have been used to break down corn into mash for a distillery or to produce pearl cornmeal. After locating the mill in North Carolina, Gary and Bob disassembled it, replaced or rebuilt worn parts, and stripped and refinished all wooden parts for this stunning result.