Mill Stones Cades Cove

Photo of the Week

Millstone displayed near the mill in Cades Cove in the Geat Smokey Mountains National Park.

Millstone displayed near the mill in Cades Cove in the Geat Smokey Mountains National Park.

Mill stones of different styles have been used for thousands of years, especially in Europe and Asia. Grist mills were a community necessity in early America. Corn, wheat and other grains had to be ground in large batches. Farmers brought part of their harvests to the mills for corn meal and flour. Typically, the mill would keep a percentage of the ground product as payment for the service, which in turn, was sold to others.

The grooves in the mill wheel carried the ground corn or wheat to the outside edge of the wheel where it was collected.

A mill required two stones, stationary bedstone on the bottom and a runner stone that did the grinding. The corn or wheat was fed through the eye or hole and guided into the space between the wheels. Note that the two wheels did come in contact with each other, and the miller could adjust the space between the wheels depending on the grain to be ground. The pattern of the millstone grooves created a scissoring action, cutting and grinding the grain.The ground grain; e.gl., cornmeal or flour, was collected in a casing surrounding the millstone at the outer edges of the millstones.

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