October 13, 2015

13/10/2015: Milling Journals of the past at the Mills Archive : Ancient Milling in China


by Mildred Cookson, The Mills Archive, UK
First published in Milling and Grain, July 2015

The history of milling in the world’s second-largest country is documented in many ways at the Mills Archive in Reading, England. Not only do we have documents and photographs as well as various journal articles from Victorian times and later, our library also holds the pioneering publications by Needham, underlining how the development of technology in China often predated similar developments in the West.

As with many poor rural societies, the first milling technologies were muscle-powered and some are still in use today in many parts of the world. Several of the illustrations here, taken from postcards from the early 1900s, show mules or oxen rotating an “edge-runner” stone on top of a flat bedstone. The flour was removed from the lower stone by the farmer walking round using a brush to clear the flour. This brush and bowl technique was lampooned on the rear of one of the cards by an advertiser 100 years ago, presumably ignorant of the mechanical engineering efficiency of most of the Chinese milling industry even then!        

Read the full article in Milling and Grain HERE.

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