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Feeding the World: Animal and water power

From Quern to Computer; a history of flour milling by Martin and Sue Watts covers a wide range of topics and this series of emails will summarise each one separately.   The application of animal and water power: From the Mediterranean to Britain The earliest milling tools were worked by human effort, using specially selected stones or…

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Feeding the World: The first milling stones

From Quern to Computer; a history of flour milling by Martin and Sue Watts covers a wide range of topics and this series of emails will summarise each one separately.  The first milling stonesCereal grains form the staple food of many societies but such grains cannot easily be digested by humans until their hard outer cellulose shells…

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Feeding the World: Cereals and cultivation (2)

From Quern to Computer; a history of flour milling by Martin and Sue Watts covers a wide range of topics and this series of emails will summarise each one separately.  The early medieval period, c.AD500 to the present day By the end of the Roman period hulled wheats such as spelt and emmer were generally giving…

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Oliver Evans (1755–1819)

Evans (September 13, 1755 – April 15, 1819) was an American inventor, engineer and businessman. In the early 1780s Evans’s attention turned to flour milling, an industry that was producing a low quality product that took too many workers to make. He worked for over a decade designing, building and perfecting an automated mill (see…

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James Venn (1921- 2014)

James Herbert Venn was born on 30th December 1921 at Furze Platt in Maidenhead.  He developed an interest in mills from a very early age, as evidenced by his building a model windmill in his parents’ garden whilst still a schoolboy. Photography was a second major strand of his personal interests, also rooted in his…

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William Kamkwamba (b 1987)

A Malawian inventor and author. After reading a book called Using Energy, he decided to create a makeshift wind turbine. He experimented with a small model using a cheap dynamo and eventually made a functioning wind turbine that powered some electrical appliances in his family’s house. Local farmers and journalists investigated the spinning device and…

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Willard Garfield Weston (1898-1978)

Name: Willard Garfield Weston   Birth: 26 February 1898, Toronto, Canada. Death: 22 October 1978, Toronto, Canada. Occupation: Biscuit manufacturer; Businessman; Mill-Owner. Notable Accomplishments: Worked for his father’s Canadian company, George Weston Limited. In 1922 he launched Weston’s, English Quality Biscuits and became president of the company after his father died in 1924. He expanded the business into Britain during the…

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William Watson Ogilvie (1835-1900)

Name: William Watson Ogilvie Birth: 15 February 1835 in Montreal, Canada. Death: 12 January 1900 in Montreal, Canada. Education: Attended the High School of Montreal. Acted as apprentice to his uncle, William Watson, who was Montreal’s flour inspector. Occupation: Miller; Businessman. Notable Accomplishments: In 1860 he joined his brothers, Alexander and John, in running the family milling company, at the time…

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Cadwallader Colden Washburn (1818-1882)

Name: Cadwallader Colden Washburn Birth: April, 1818, Livermore, Maine. Death: May 1882, Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Education: Attended the district school but was otherwise self-taught. Occupation: Lawyer; Businessman; Politician; Mill-Owner Notable Accomplishments: In 1866 he invested $100,000 into building a mill, Washburn B mill also known as Washburn’s Folly. In 1871 this mill was overhauled and George Christian put in as manager.…

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