Rescued and Restored: Rare Meadows Mill Co. Grist Mill

Indiana father-daughter team restores abandoned rare 12-inch Meadows Mill Co. grist mill

| September 2004

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.

6/10/2018 3:15:23 PM

I am interested in buying a very old grist mill. If someone has one for sale please let me know. Looking to build a vintage mill. Kevin

2/26/2015 4:33:29 PM

I have a very old grist mill, I would like to sale this antique. My name is Scott located in East Tennessee 865-712-5142