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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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Helen Major (1927–2013)

Helen Major (1927 – 2013) was an amateur historian and an active volunteer at the Mills Archive. Helen was well known in the mill world in the UK and much loved. She and her late husband, Ken (whom she married in April 1954), attended most functions of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings…

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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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Charles A Pillsbury (1842-1899)

Name: Charles Alfred Pillsbury. Birth: 3 October 1842 in Warner, New Hampshire. Death: 17 September 1899 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Education: He attended a village school until he was 12 years old and then went to a city school in Concord, New Hampshire, where he graduated from aged 16. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1863 after spending four years…

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W. L. Duffield (1869-1962)

The Duffield Family Collection is comprised of a scrapbook of newspaper cuttings collected by W. L. Duffield during his lifetime. These articles, collected mainly from The Miller and Milling during the period 1885-1915, help reveal what concerns millers had during the transition to roller machinery that took place during the end of the 19th century. Also preserved is an article…

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Joseph Rank (1854-1943)

Birth: 28 March 1854 in Hull, England. Death: 13 November 1943 in Surrey, England. Education: Went to a small private school at Swinefleet near Goole. Left school aged 14 and went to work in his father’s mill. Occupation: Miller; Businessman; Philanthropist.   Notable Accomplishments: Founder of Joseph Rank Ltd. which was at one point Britain’s largest flour milling company. Opened…

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