Two: A Glossary of Terms
A storage bin for grain or meal.
Large iron tongs suspended from a crane, used to lift off the upper stone
of a pair for dressing or to make other adjustments to the stones.
A curved iron bar that crosses the eye of the runner millstone,
fitting into slots or pockets on either side. Also called a millstone
or crossbar. See also “Rynd.”
Used to balance the runner stone.
A decorative date board on Dutch windmills.
The lower stationary millstone in a pair of millstones. Also called the
Cutting tool for dressing millstones.
Storage containers for grain, usually on the upper floor of a mill,
from which grain would be fed into millstone hoppers. Also called garners.
A cushion usually made of a partially filled sack of meal or bran,
used as a
cushion by a millstone dresser when dressing the millstones.
The arms or vanes of a windmill, attached to the windshaft.
A machine used to sift flour into lots of different textures or degrees
Cloth of varying weave used to sift flour into lots according to
texture and size. Sometimes made of silk, in which case referred to
A band of wood or iron on the outer rim of the brake wheel, controlled
by the brake lever, staff, or brake rope (known as the gripe).
The outer coating of a grain of wheat, rye, barley, or corn. Oats
and buckwheat have an outer coating that is a "hull."
The middle section of a millstone.
The horizontal beam supporting the neck of the wind shaft.
A lever beam which carries the lower end of the spindle and thus
weight of the runner stone. It may be raised or lowered to alter the
between the grinding surfaces of the millstones in order to produce a
coarser meal. See also “Tentering Staff.”
The smallest of the four millstone furrows in one quarter of a
millstone in quarter dress. See also “Fly Furrow.”
The iron casting on the poll end of the wind shaft to accommodate the
blades and sails.
The corner posts of a smock mill.
The top of a windmill, containing the mill’s machinery. The variety
of caps topping off windmills add to their distinctive regional styles.
See also “Dome Cap,” “Flemish Cap,” “Kentish
Cap,” “Norfolk Cap,” “Pent Roof Cap,” and “Sussex
The horizontal timber frame that supports the base of the cap.
Circular Furrow Dress Pattern
See “Sickle Dress Pattern.”
The act of cutting the fine grooves (cracks, drills, feathering, or stitching)
lands of a millstone.
The fine grooves cut into the face or lands of a millstone in the areas
The circular timber track on top of the body of a mill on which the cap
turns. A live curb has wheels to make the turning of the cap easier;
a dead curb does not.
A relatively small milling operation that ground enough flour and
meal to satisfy the needs of a local community. The miller was paid
keeping a percentage of the ground meal for himself. The "miller’s
toll" was set by law and ranged from 10 to 20 percent. These small
mills became known as “custom mills” because they ground
from coarse to fine, according to the needs (custom) of the local people.
A square or round shaft made of iron and/or wood. It terminates
with a fork or crutch which, while rotating, taps the shoe, thus feeding
grain into the millstones. Also called a “dandelion.”
A plain, dome-shaped windmill cap without the reverse curves of a Sussex
(or Ogee) Cap. Common on the windmills of Rhode Island.
A stick for unclogging grain from the eye of a millstone.
A windmill used for land drainage. Widely used in Holland.
The layout or pattern of furrows on a millstone.
The person who chisels the millstone furrows.
The process of cutting grooves (cracks or furrows) into the face
of the millstone, in order to provide the shearing action in grinding.
the term for sharpening the existing dress. Also called “facing.”
The top floor of a smock mill.
The center hole in a millstone. In the runner stone the eye is always
round. In a bed stone the center hole may be either round or square,
depending upon the type of millstone-bearing housing used.
Face Gear (or Face Wheel)
A gear wheel with cogs mortised into its face, usually used in conjunction
with a lantern pinion.
Another term for dressing.
A tool resembling a multiple-edged chisel used for dressing or facing
The brake lever.
A chute that guides grain from the hopper into the eye of the stone.
To flake a windmill is to disassemble it for the purpose of moving it
to another site.
A cone-shaped windmill cap with a dormer, from which projected the
windshaft and the arms. It’s a style older than the Kentish Cap,
according to historian James Owens, and tops the windmill on the Eastham
on Cape Cod.
Flour Dresser Machine
A machine for separating flour from the rest of the ground meal.
See “Butterfly Furrow.”
A wooden stick or straight edge used to mark out the line of the furrows
used in dressing the millstones.
The grooves cut into the grinding surface or lands of the millstone.
The stage around the body of some smock and tower mills. Used for access
to the arms and sails.
A hopper above the vat which holds the grain to be milled.
The material ground in a mill, e.g. corn, wheat, or rye.
A section of millstone face with a pattern of lands and grooves.
See “Stone Case” or “Vat.”
An open-topped container tapered to feed grain into the millstones.
A wooden framework on top of the millstone case which holds the
hopper, shoe, and damsel in position. Also called “a hopper ladder.”
The second largest furrow in a quarter of a millstone in quarter dress
pattern. It is parallel and immediately adjacent to the master furrow
on one side and the apprentice furrow on the other side.
One of the oldest caps, the Kentish Cap was common on the early
post mills. It’s a round vault, like a tube cut in half, with
flat ends. The style was common in Kent, England, and also in parts
The areas between the furrows on the grinding surface of a millstone.
They are high parts of patterns on the surfaces of millstones.
Language of the Windmill
See “Saint Andrew’s Cross” and “Saint George’s
A pinion gear consisting of round staves or rungs mortised between two
discs, used either as a wallower, or as a millstone pinion.
See “Tentering Staff.”
Another term for a runner stone.
The term for bringing the windmill into the wind.
The vertical shaft from the wallower to the spur wheel.
The largest furrow in a quarter of a millstone in quarter-dress, determining
the boundary of the quarter.
The floor below the millstones, where the freshly ground meal is received.
A spout that conveys the meal from the millstones to the meal bin or
The coarsest part of the wheat meal ground by a mill; the last
product excepting the bran remaining after finer grades of flour are
out in the bolting process. A mediocre grade of flour, or the middle
grade of flour. Also called “midds.” See also “Sharps” and “Shorts.”
A chisel-ended tool used for dressing or sharpening the grinding
surface of millstones. Also called “a mill chisel.”
See “Mill Bill.”
The portion of ground meal retained by the miller as payment for his
services. In the United States, usually ten to twenty per cent of the
meal ground was the accepted toll. Local law governed how much the
miller could take in tolling.
See “Balance Rynd.”
A set of two millstones, consisting of an upper (or runner) millstone
and the lower (or bed) stone. Also called a “run” (of stones).
Mortar and Pestle
A simple grinding apparatus in which a receptacle (mortar) is used to
hold grain while it is crushed by a club shaped implement (pestle).
The bowl used by the miller to measure his toll. See also “Miller’s
If a modern home or business windmill produces more electricity than
is needed at a specific time, utility companies will buy the extra
electricity. In Net Metering, the meter turns backward while excess
energy is supplied to the power company.
The lower stone of a set of millstones. Also called the “bed
A particularly aerodynamic windmill cap, shaped like the bottom of a
boat turned upside down. Like a boat, the sides are broad and taper
at the ends. It was used in the Norfolk Broads of England, in Lancashire
(in a larger version), and in the southwest of Denmark.
A smock or tower mill whose cap is turned by a tail pole.
A mill with the runner stone driven from above.
A wooden, straight-edged staff used to test the surface level of
a millstone. Also called a “proof staff.”
A term used to describe the capacity of a mill, referring to the
number of pairs of millstones installed; for example, a “two pair mill,” a “three
Pent Roof Cap
An early windmill cap, it is a simple peak, like the roof of a house.
Many Cape Cod windmills have this type of cap.
The earliest type of windmill in America. The blades and all the machinery
were contained in one box-like millhouse. The millhouse was held up
by a single post, and the post was supported by trestles. The millhouse
revolved on a tallowed wooden collar on the post so that the sails
could face into the wind. The mill was turned when a man wheeled the
tailpiece (a long pole sloping from the box to a wheel on the ground)
The portion of meal or flour paid to the miller. Also called the “toll.”
See “Paint Staff.”
A section of the surface of a millstone defined by master furrows, not
necessarily one fourth the surface area of a millstone.
A form of millstone dress using a series of straight furrows, the
largest of which divide the surface of the millstone into regions called "quarters."
Turning a windmill 90 degrees into the wind to halt it.
An early, simple form of rotary grist mill, consisting of a stationary
lower bed stone and an upper runner stone usually rotated by hand with
the aid of a stick.
A flat piece of wood with a hole to accommodate a feather quill
at one end. The other end contains a square hole that fits onto the
spindle. It is used to test the millstone spindle for balanced, upright
running. Also called a “jack stick,” “tram stick,” or “trammel.”
A mixture of red oxide or lamp black powder and water, used on a
paint staff. The mixture marks the high spots on a millstone to determine
it is level. Also call “tiver.”
The block on the shoe against which the damsel strikes (thereby causing
the shoe to agitate), to ensure an even flow of grain from the hopper
to the millstones. This is usually made of hard wood while the shoe
is made of soft pine. At times the rap is covered with a leather strap
to dampen the sounds of the damsel striking against the shoe.
On windmill power turbines, the rotors are the parts usually called “Blades,” or “Arms” on
A pair of millstones. A term also used for the capacity of a mill.
See also “Pair.”
The upper, moving millstone of a pair of millstones.
A crossbar containing the bearing on which the upper runner stone of
a pair of millstones rests and is balanced.
A device for holding open sacks.
A method of hoisting sacks or barrels vertically in a mill using a gear-driven
system or a windlass/barrel-hoist system. It was used to lift sacks
from carts, wagons, boats, and the lower floors of the mill.
Saddle Stone Mill
An early, simple grinding apparatus in which meal is ground between a
saddle shaped stone and a rounded stone that is rolled over it.
The assembly for sails, attached to the windshaft.
When the arms of a windmill were at rest in a balanced, diagonal
cross, the position was called a “Saint Andrew’s Cross.”
If the arms of a windmill were set in a vertical cross, the position
was called a “Saint George’s Cross.” Said to have
been used as a signal that “the miller is away.” If there
was a death in the community, the sails would be stopped just prior
to the vertical position. Mourning could also be noted by removing
some of the boards on the arms – the more boards removed, the
closer the relationship of the miller to the deceased. If the miller
himself died, many crossboards were removed and the arms turned slowly
during the funeral.
Salt-producing equipment consisting of a windmill used to pump seawater
into vats for evaporation.
A tapered trough vibrated to feed grain into the eye of the runner stone
for grinding between the millstones.
In electric power windmills, if the windmill fails or the wind becomes
too fierce, the system automatically turns the blades out of the wind
and applies brakes.
A form of millstone dress using a series of semi-circular furrows.
Also called “circular furrow dress.”
See “Bolting Cloth.”
The outer edge of the grinding surface of a millstone.
In the 17th century, a new style of tower mill was developed – the
smock mill. These wooden towers sloped along eight sides, lending them
the appearance of a countryman’s linen smock. Made with large oak
beams, pine floors and sheathing, and cedar shingles. The smock mill
is the type of windmill most often seen in New England.
A sliding shutter controlling the flow of grain from hopper to shoe.
Speed Control System
In electric power windmills, a system that shuts down the windmill if
certain speeds are exceeded.
The shaft on which the runner millstone rotates.
A projecting gallery around a tower or smock mill. Provides access to
the sails and tail pole. Also known as the reefing stage.
See “Sail Stock.”
A circular wooden enclosure around a pair of millstones. Also called “casing,” “hoop,” “husk,” “tun,” or “vat.”
A man whose profession is to re sharpen or dress millstones.
The access hatch over the neck bearing of the windshaft. Allows access
from the mill to the blades and sails.
A straight-edge tool used to level off grain or meal in the toll
dish. Also called a “strickle.”
A round, somewhat onion-shaped windmill cap. It has a slight upward,
reverse curve that ends in a finial knob. Also known as “ogee-shaped,” it
was also found in the East Midlands, the northeast of England, and
the northeast of Denmark.
The eye of the runner stone.
An attachment to the edge of the runner stone which sweeps the
meal from the vat into chutes to the bins below. Also called the “tag.”
A spar projecting from the cap of a mill to the ground. Used to rotate
the cap and blades of the mill.
Describes a mill caught by a sudden change of wind, putting pressure
on the wrong side of the sails.
The process of adjusting the gap between the upper and lower millstones
by raising or lowering the brayer and bridge tree.
A beam, or handle, connected to the bridge tree by the brayer,
permitting the bridge tree to be raised or lowered and thus adjusting
between the upper and lower millstones. Also called a “lighter
A turned wooden handle that holds the bill.
A water mill harnessing energy from tidal water when it floods a salt
marsh or the mouth of a river.
A red ochre used for marking millstones. See also “Raddle.”
A portion of meal or flour paid to the miller. Also called the “pottle.”
In the 16th century, the Flemish invented the tower mill, a technical
advance over the post mill. With a simple shift in thinking, it was
deduced that only the blades and cap of a windmill needed to turn,
thereby allowing all the gears and the tons of millstones to remain
stationary. There were two types of tower mills, the first being built
of stone or brick and circular in shape. Often a wooden gallery or
stage was built part way up the tower to allow the miller easy access
to the sails. The second type was the smock mill.
A wooden staff used to check true movement of the spindle. See
See “Quill Stick.”
See “Quill Stick.”
Loose bits of metal in the grain.
The removable wooden casing around millstones. Also called a “stone
case” or “vat.”
Small, stainless-steel electric power windmills mounted on roofs of businesses
and homes in urban areas.
See “tun” or “stone case.”
The long pole connecting the wind shaft to the runnerstone.
The wheel attached to the bottom of the tail pole, used to rotate the
The gear wheel at the top of the vertical shaft. It connects to the brake
wheel on the windshaft.
A bell which rings when the grain content of the hopper gets too low.
Whips are the poles, bolted into the face of the stock, which hold the
When windmills are grouped together into a single wind power plant,
they are known as “wind farms.” They are constructed both
on land and off-shore, where wind currents are more reliable.
The process of turning a mill to head into the wind.
The horizontal shaft carrying the blade and sail assembly (outside the
mill) and the brake wheel (inside the mill).
The wooden bars projecting downwards from the tail pole, against which
the miller set his shoulders when winding (turning) the mill.