| March/April 1957

  • The old Wind-Powered Grist Mill
    The old Wind-Powered Grist Mill at Golden, Illinois. Sketch made by Mr. Donnell.

  • The old Wind-Powered Grist Mill

Donnellson, Illinois (Mr. dough tells in an interesting way, the story of this old mill at Golden, Illinois. He apologizes for the fact that it is not a steam engine or thresher but states it is closely allied to them.-Editor)

M? GOOD FRIEND, MR. CAR-son Donnell and I made the 140 mile trip to Golden, Adams County, Illinois, to see the old Dutch style wind mill, on June 19, 1953.

Mr. Donnell made a sketch of the exterior of the building and as it has not been in use for quite a while we prevailed on a man living near the mill to show us inside of it. As we climbed several flights of steps leading from one floor to another, our guide called to our attention to the treads of the steps being worn almost half way through near the ends and also that the steps had been turned around so the other ends were also worn down. A rope dangled at the right side of each flight of steps so one could help pull himself up as the steps were very steep owing to the limited room especially near the top of the tower.

We were especially fascinated by the exceptionally neat workmanship of the old German millwright who came over to this country and built it. I would judge the large wooden gears varied from 4 feet to 12 feet or more in diameter and perhaps from 4 inches to 6 or 8 inches face. Both bevel and spur gears were built up entirely of wood and pinned together with wood pins. The spokes of the larger gears were mortised into wood shafts as large as a man's body, and the smaller shafts were 5 or 6 inches in diameter, all made of wood with iron gudgeons and iron bands on ends of shafts.

The hard maple cogs were mortised into the wood rims. The mortises, tendons, jims and joints were applied with linseed oil so that when driven together and dried they were practically glued together.

I would judge the main power shaft is 60 feet or more above the ground. A large gear with a built-in brake drum was attached to the power wheel shaft. This gear engaged a smaller one on a vertical shaft from which the power for the machinery lower down in the tower was taken. Each successive set of gears were arranged to multiply the speed as the arms of the wind blades were 35 feet long thereby describing a 70 foot circle and naturally turned very slow.


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