So I have come to the end of my initial three months interning at the Mills Archive. However, this is not goodbye, as I will be back in November to do further work on the roller mill project. This week has seen an exciting development in the project as the webpages are now beginning to take shape. Here’s a sneak peek!
Although they are not available for public view yet, the content and images are beginning to be uploaded and it has been a rewarding experience to see how the articles I’ve written will appear on the website. Given that the work this week has mainly been uploading content, I have not come across any new interesting facts or stories to share with you. Instead, I thought I’d share some of the interesting facts that I have picked up over the course of the past three months that have not made it into blogs. At the same time, you will be introduced to some the different categories that will hopefully be appearing on the new site:
Roller Milling Development: The ‘Roller Mill Revolution’ took place at the end of the 19th century and great pride was taken throughout the world to be regarded as the ‘first’. The first to invent roller mills, the first to use them or the first to have a complete roller milling system installed. This could lead to some ugly arguments, frequently taking place within the columns and pages of milling journals. For example, W.D. Gray, a milling engineer from America, was in a battle almost all his life to prove he had not stolen his roller mill designs during a visit to Europe in 1878-1879. His first major installation of the Washburn experimental mill was opened in 1879 after he returned from Europe, but he had taken the contract for it and started installation the previous year before leaving. Nevertheless, many ‘quarters’ still gave ‘the impression that Mr. Gray invented his roller mill and commenced the advocacy of the present roller system after his return from Europe’ (‘William D. Gray’, The Northwestern Miller, 22 May, 1891, p.695).
From Field to Shelf: Why did the change to the roller milling process even need to take place? Quite simply, there was a greater demand for white bread.
Why should this effect the milling system? Bread is made out of strong flour which has a high gluten content. Strong flour is made from hard wheat. Hard wheat does not grind very well between millstones and it is harder to sieve out the white flour. Therefore, a new system had to be developed whereby the hard wheat could be ground more successfully and the white flour extracted.
How do different companies make their brands unique and different if they are using the same wheat and machinery? Companies use different varieties of wheat and machinery meaning products will be different. Advertising also helps to make a brand more desirable. One successful technique was the use of mascots and figures, such as the Homepride man in his bowler hat.
What is the Homepride man actually called? Fred, Fred the Flour Grader to give him his full title!
Stories from the Archive: Did you know that if you search for ‘roller mill’ in the archive catalogue that 644 results come up? This number would probably be incorrect if you looked next week as it is increasing every day as volunteers continue to catalogue items that come into the archive. There are a variety of items relating to mills, the milling process, individuals and families that can found by doing this search. These items tell many stories and were the inspiration for many of the blogs that I have already written, so will feature prominently on the new site!!
So there’s a sneak peak of some of the new categories with some, hopefully, interesting and fun information for you! They are by no means the only categories that will be appearing on the new pages and I look forward to adding to them when I return.