Illustrations and documents describing muscle-powered mills are a fascinating aspect of Mildred Cookson’s collection.
Not all mills were powered by wind, water or fossil fuelled engines. A mill could derive its motive power from the muscles of humans or animals. All over the world, muscle-powered mills are still in use to perform a range of functions including milling grain, crushing seeds and raising water.
Water is raised from a well to irrigate fields using this machine, known as a Noria, to which animals (bullocks in this case) are harnessed.
Tread wheel at the Fox and Hounds, Alresford, Hampshire
A postcard of the muscle-powered tread wheel at Alresford, Hampshire, which was used to raise water from a well.
Animal-powered tread wheel
Old postcard of a donkey-powered tread wheel.
Treadmill for water raising
Engraving showing a human-powered device for raising water using a deries of scoops attached to a chain or rope that lifted water out of the river.
A pair of animal-powered Norias side by side.
Camel-operated Noria in Egypt. The large horizontal tree trunk in the background is part of the structure and supported the upper bearing of the vertical shaft.
Noria with cast-iron gears
A bullock-operated Noria, sometimes known as a Sakieh. This device has been ‘modernised’ with cast-iron gearing, although the principle remains the same. The wheel that lifts the water is a wide one.
Oil seed crushing mill
Animal-powered oil mill with edge runner stones.
Engraving of Noria
An engraving of a bullock-operated Noria with a French caption.