Wheel-Mills

stone, upper, inches, mill, lower, mills and stones

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The Etruscans (30o B. C.) scored or furrowed the inside of their mortars, grooved the bottoms radially, gave to them a more cylindrical form, and roughened the lower end of the pestle. The latter was kept in the central position by an iron spike projecting from its lower end and entering a hole in the centre of the mortar, and the pestle was rotated on its vertical axis by means of a handle projecting laterally.

Eastern Hand-mills.—Modern writers familiar with the mills and methods now employed in the East for grinding grain are unanimous ill their belief that the ancient hand-mill differed but little from the one in use at the present day. This consists of two circular stone discs GM 2, fig. ro) 15 inches in diameter, the lower one being about 2 inches and the upper one 2 /2 inches thick. In the centre of the lower stone is firmly fixed an iron pill of an inch in diameter and 4 inches high. Through the centre of the upper stone there is an opening 3 inches in diameter, and across this, near the grinding,-face of the stone, is tightly fitted a wooden bar ;< an inch thick and inches wide, which is perforated at its centre, to fit over and to turn freely upon the pin in the lower stone. In a hole on the top surface of the upper stone, near its edge, is inserted a hard-wood handle, by which the mill is turned. The grinding faces of these stones are flat, and their surfaces are neither grooved, notched, nor furrowed.

Though the ancient mill was sometimes turned by one woman, it was, because of the labor involved, more frequently worked by two women (pl. 3, fig. 1); these sat upon the bare ground, often in the dust, each with a hand pushing and pulling alternately the handle of the upper stone and together turning it around; at the same time one of the women with her free hand threw the grain into the central opening of the upper stone, which served as a hopper to direct the grain into the joint between the stones, where it entered as the upper stone turned and ground away the advancing grains.

To make comfortable the position of the grinders, who sit on the ground, and to enable them more easily to perform their labor, the mill, when in use, is placed upon a box or flat stone about 6 inches high. A cloth is invariably spread under the lower stone, to receive the meal as it issues from the outer edges of the stones.

Most of the hand-mills, as well as the larger mills which are turned by animals or water, in Palestine and Syria, are of basaltic rock taken from the great lava-bed in Basilan, where they are made, and whence they are transported to all parts of the country; the millstones are always of the hardest readily obtainable material. The diameter and thickness of the stones vary in different mills, but in the same mill the diameters of the upper and lower stones are always equal. As these mills must be carried about on the backs of animals, unnecessary weight must be avoided; the sizes, therefore, do not generally exceed those given above. The cost of a new mill of Basilan stone is from four to five dollars, but an inferior sec ond-hand mill can be purchased for half this amount.

Some upper millstones are more shapely on the edge and on the face than the one shown in Figure io (p. 2); for example, in Figure I (pi. 3) a thicker stone is cut away to about 2 inches around the outer edge, leav ing a rim at the eye, forming a hopper; but multitudes are rudely formed, as the one represented in Figure io (p. 2). In ancient ruins there have been found many under stones with convex grinding-surfaces, to fit which the upper stones are concave. The ancient mills were also more elaborately made in other respects than are modern mills, the art having degenerated with the people, who now require only a mill that will grind grain. The largest ancient millstone (ii j3 feet in diameter) of which we have know ledge lies on the Shittim plain, east of the Jordan, opposite Jericho, and has not been used for centuries; a wooden curb was originally fastened around the top, and the mill was used for grinding olives (perhaps grain also) on a large scale.

Anthony Francis Cori, in a published at Leghorn in 1752, makes mention of a red jasper on which is engraved the naked figure of a man who in his left hand holds a sheaf of corn and in his right a machine that is in all probability a hand-mill. Cori considers the figure a repre sentation of the god Eunostus, who, as Suidas says, was the god of mills.

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