Rescued and Restored: Rare Meadows Mill Co. Grist Mill
Indiana father-daughter team restores abandoned rare 12-inch Meadows Mill Co. grist mill
The restored Meadows Mill Co. 12-inch grist mill.
Courtesy of Keith Kinney
Once in a while old-iron collectors happen to be in the right place at the right time.
This happened to me about five years ago at our local farm show, the Southern Indiana Antique and Machinery Club Classic Iron Show in Evansville, Ind. A man approached our exhibit with some photos in hand, asked if I recognized the device pictured and if I’d be interested in it.
One look at the photos and I immediately recognized a Meadows Mill Co. or Williams Mill Co. grist mill. I couldn’t tell from the pictures how large the mill was, but the mill’s owner said the stones were about the size of a large dinner plate.
Naturally, I was interested. I’ve missed enough good deals through the years to know not to hesitate when an unbelievable offer comes along. We jumped in the truck, and off we went to take a look.
Treasure hunt for a 12-inch gristmill
The mill’s owner lived about a mile from the show grounds, and was preparing to move and wanted to get the mill out of his shed, where the property’s previous owner left it some 20 years before. The previous owner had started restoring the mill, but abandoned the project part way through when he decided to sell everything, buy a boat and sail the world. The mill had sat in the shed ever since.
When we arrived, the shed was almost empty except for the mill, which was still in pieces from the previous owner’s aborted restoration. I measured the stones and determined it was a 12-inch mill - the most desirable and elusive of the stone mills. According to Meadows, which remains in business, only 300 or so 12-inch grist mills were built.
The grist mill looked fairly complete, and most of the wood had obviously been replaced. Its sheet metal hopper was conspicuously absent. As luck would have it, I’d noticed a funnel-shaped sheet metal hopper on a trash pile next to the owner’s garage. After I realized the mill had no grain hopper, I retrieved the one from the trash pile. Not only did it go with the grist mill, but the hopper also provided the missing clue to unravel the mill’s mystery maker – it was clearly a Meadows-made mill because Meadows used round, metal hoppers, while Williams mills came with square, wooden hoppers.
Next, I asked the owner what he wanted for the old grain grinder, and he countered with the classic, “Well, what would you give?” I explained that I never liked pricing another man’s collectibles. He nodded and asked, “Would $50 be OK?” That price sounded good to me, so I paid him and we loaded the mill in my truck. I looked the place over really well to ensure we’d found all the parts, then headed back to the show with my treasure in tow and a big smile on my face.
Evaluating the Meadows Mill Co. 12-inch gristmill
I took the mill home and stored it in the barn where we dry-assembled the parts several times during the next year, learning more about the mill with each effort. I also thoroughly researched Meadows grist mills, and found the Meadows employees very helpful.
Page: 1 | 2
| Next >>