A-Z glossary

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Pack or Wad
May be either the pile of wet sheets assembled by the layer which he has separated from the FELTS or a small number of sheets piled up ready for glazing.

Pack The Neck
Lubricating the neck bearing .

Packing The Neck
Setting, truing and greasing the three brasses forming the bearing or collar (in the centre of the bedstone) for the runner stone.

Metal or wooden plate, or bristle brush, fitted to edge of RUNNER STONE for sweeping the MEAL in the TUN to the MEAL EYE, and via the SPOUT to the bin below; also called a TAG or SWEEPER.

Paddles (2)
See Floats.

Paint Staff
A wooden straight edge used for testing the faces of MILLSTONES & used with TIVER to mark the high spots when preparing the stone for DRESSING. Also known as WOOD PROOF or WHEAT STAFF. See also PROOF STAFF & RUDDING BAR. Often made of mahogany.

Term used to describe capacity of a mill by reference to the number of pairs of MILLSTONES installed; for example, 'two pair mill', 'three pair mill' etc; See also RUN.

Small piece of wood kept near the MEAL BIN for taking a sample of meal to check its texture.

Paltrok Mill
A wood-framed mill, found in the Netherlands, similar in outline to a SMOCK MILL, but often square in plan, where the whole mill is supported & winded near ground level on wheels or rollers, on a curb or low walls said to have been introduced in Holland at the end of the C16th. as a saw mill.

A cast iron housing for a BEDSTONE - late C19th.

Pan Mill
A mill comprised of a metal, stone or wooden pan in which turns one or more EDGE RUNNERS to crush material.

Pandy Mill

Panels, Panes
Wrought iron strips let flush into a journal formed on a wooden shaft to take the wear.

Extensions on NW. POSTMILL bodies.

Paper Mill
A factory in which rags and other material are turned into pulp by processes including BEATERS, STAMPS or HOLLANDERS, and the subsequent making of the paper. The buildings may be characterised by the extensive drying lofts.

An obsolescent term for wallpaper.

Iron or brass strips let into the surface of a wooden shaft to form a JOURNAL bearing to take the wear.

To plaster up a wall or crevice with cement made of cow dung or lime (old Sussex/ E. Anglian).

Parish Mill
A MILL owned and run by the Parish, especially before 1800, to benefit the poor.

General term for cardboard formed by passing fine papers to either side of middles of inferior quality.

A meal store, sometimes a boarded-off section in a mill (E. Anglian) (term also used by some millers referring to a flour dresser).

Pastry White
also known as BEST WHITE. Fine white flour.

Patent Sail
A SHUTTERED self-regulating sail controlled by automatic STRIKING GEAR, patented in 1807 by William Cubitt of Norfolk, designed to achieve a fairly constant speed irrespective of the wind force. See STRIKING GEAR.

Finer parts of a straight flour made entirely from purified middlings (first produced by patented methods).

The full-sized wooden model used in a foundry to produce a CASTING.

Blocks of hard CHERT used in a flint GRINDING PAN, acting as a bedstone.

See Click.

Peak Stone
A one-piece millstone quarried in the Peak district of Derbyshire and Yorkshire; geologically "millstone grit, a coarse quartz-like sandstone". Cheaper than a BURR STONE. Usually used for animal feed. Loosely used to describe similar stones.

Pearl Barley
Barley grains which have had their outer skin removed by attrition. Prepared by grinding barley between a single vertical grindstone moving fast and an outer slowly rotating perforated metal case, whereby the grains are rounded and polished. The whole of the husk is thus removed except that portion left in the furrow of the seed. See GRUBBE.

(1) see BILL. (2) a MEASURE of capacity for dry goods - (= 4 LIPPIES = 0.25 FIRLOT = 2 gallons (Scot.).

Peck Loaf
A loaf of bread weighing 17.5 lb. (A Peck of flour weighs 14 lb.)


See Cog (gearing).

Peg Mill
A POST MILL (Lancs).

Compressed cylindrical cartridges of blackpowder, often N/S type, and with an axial perforation. Used in blasting in mines.

Pelton Turbine
See Pelton Wheel.

Pelton Wheel
A form of IMPULSE turbine developed in America in the second half of the C19th. Most suited to situations where a very high head of water can be used to produce a high velocity jet (or jets) which is directed on to cup-shaped buckets around the rim of the wheel. To efficiently convert the kinetic energy of the water to mechanical power, the rim of the wheel must move at approximately half the velocity of the water.

A SLUICE gate controlling the flow of water onto the WHEEL or LAUNDER or the tube conveying water to the TURBINE.

Pent Cap
Pitched roof. A cap with a straight ridge, having a flat, or nearly flat, sections of roof sloping down on either side; the front and rear ends of the cap being triangular.

Pent House
Pointed turret on a fan stage of a smock or tower mill, or a particular style of wheelhouse over a waterwheel.

Penthouse Door
The door in the cap of a TOWER or SMOCK MILL allowing access to the exterior.

A tank, or channel of wood, metal or mineral, with a penstock, feeding water to an overshot, pitchback or high-breast wheel.

See Beehive Cap.

The layer surrounding the inner grain.

Perpendicular Axle
See Upright Shaft.

Persian wheel
See Noria Wheel.

Pestle & Mortar
See Mortar & Pestle.

Pestle Mill
Primitive method of incorporation (q.v.) in which a heavy wooden pestle was worked within a wooden bowl or mortar, either manually or mechanically.

See Skirt.

A pointed mill bill used for dressing stones, particularly those for grinding animal feed. Used mounted in a thrift. See also PRITCHELL.

Brick or stone supports for CROSSTREES of a POST MILL TRESTLE.

Pig Stone
See Peak Stone.

(1) Blocks of cast iron set into the underside of a cap frame to bear on a DEAD-CURB. (Lincolnshire). (2) Lumps of CAST IRON which have solidified, into grooves in the sand floor in front of the smelting furnace. The grooves are normally arranges in the form of a main channel from which branched numerous side channels for the pigs. The main channel produced the SOW.

Pillow Block
The block supporting a BEARING, more especially those supporting the NECK BEARING resting on the BREAST BEAM.

Pin Gear

Pinch Bar
See Crowbar.

Pinching Screws
Set screws threaded into the forward wall of a CANISTER BOX which bear on a dimpled iron plate within, firmly gripping the stock in place. As used in Sussex. Could also be BRIDGING SCREWS.

The smaller of a pair of GEAR wheels. See NUT. See LANTERN PINION.

The projecting piece of iron from the end of a SHAFT that runs in a BEARING.

Pintle and Pot

Pit Gear
See Pit Wheel.

Pit Wheel
(1) In a WATERMILL the primary GEAR WHEEL mounted on the inner end of the WHEEL SHAFT, often in or partly in, a pit in the mill floor. (2) In a DRAINAGE MILL the vertical DRIVEN GEAR WHEEL mounted on the inner end of the SCOOP WHEEL SHAFT, usually in or partly in a pit, which takes its drive from the CROWN WHEEL at the base of the UPRIGHT SHAFT.

(1) see ANGLE OF WEATHER. (2) The distance between faces of successive TEETH of a GEAR WHEEL, measured at the PITCH CIRCLE. (3) A black tenacious substance, obtained by the distillation of tar or turpentine, applied hot to the outside of a mill to weather-proof it.

Pitch Circle
Where two GEARWHEELS are running together, each is considered to have an imaginary circle, these circles just touch each other at the point of nearest approach of the wheels. The diameters of these Pitch Circles are such that if the wheels had no TEETH and the pitch circles were pressed together so that they did not slip, the relative motions of the two wheels would be the same as with toothed wheels. Pitch Circles are usually marked out on the ends of wooden COGS when laying out the shapes and positions for their working faces.

Pitchback Wheel
A WATERWHEEL where the water is delivered at the BUCKETS at the top of the wheel on the same side as the LAUNDER. Usually the bottom of the wheel rotates in the same direction as the water in the TAIL RACE; this reduces the impact of BACKWATERING compared to an OVERSHOT WHEEL. Also known as a backshot wheel. Explore other types of waterwheel in our Thematic Glossary.

An old term for a STONE SPINDLE.

Pivotal Plane
The plane in which the millstone is balanced on the SPINDLE.

Plain Sails
See Common Sails.

Planing Mill
Mill driving rotary planing machines to produce a smooth finish on wood.

A long piece of timber, wider than it is thick.

Planked Solid
A wooden COG WHEEL or BELT PULLEY where either the sides are boarded inside the rim or the cants extend from the rim to the centre. A gear wheel formed of solid boards.

See Plansifter.

A machine equipped with SIEVES moving horizontally with either a linear or circular motion, for DRESSING the flour.

Plash Boards
See Sole (Boards).

Plaster Mill
See Whiting Mill.

Plaster Of Paris
A soft white cement made from gypsum and used for bonding together the segments of burr in a millstone.

Plate Glazing
Method of producing a smooth surface on sheets of generally hand-made paper by placing them between polished plates of zinc or copper and passing them back and forth with slight friction between pressing rollers.

Plate Mill
A machine for grinding cattle food using vertical abrasive metal plates; used mainly on farms.

See Stage.

Plating Hammer
A TILT HAMMER used for drawing out steel blades.

To swell cogs or wedges with water in order to counter the loosening effect of vibration. (a bad practice, not to be encouraged).

Part of edge runner mill, made of bronze or brass & used to sweep the charge towards the centre of the mill bed during incorporation. Two ploughs were used in each mill.

Plumb (adj.)
Vertical (as in "out of plumb").

Plumb Bob
Used to check the bedstone is in the horizontal plane.

Plummer Block
An iron casting containing a BEARING BRASS to support a rotating SHAFT.

Plumping Mill
A corn crushing mill consisting of a MORTAR in which a PESTLE is repeatedly forcibly dropped to crush or crudely grind grain. (1) The PESTLE may be manually operated. (2) see SAPLING MILL. (3) The PESTLE may also be water powered. In this case, the PESTLE is attached to one end of a SWEEP (3), to the other end of which an open-topped box is attached. Water pouring into the box weighs it down, lifting the pestle (after the fashion of a see-saw) until the water tips out of the box. The pestle then descends into the mortar to crush the grain, and awaits the box refilling with water to repeat the cycle.

The tip of a windmill sail.

Pointing Lines
Control lines attached to edges of SAIL CLOTHS, allowing the miller to FURL or spread sail from the ground or REEFING STAGE below.

Polder Mill
Dutch mill used for drainage of a polder.

See Poll End.

Poll End
The end of a WINDSHAFT, which usually has two apertures set at right angles, through which the STOCKS are passed and secured by wedges. With a wooden windshaft, the apertures are mortised through the end of the shaft. Splitting of the end is prevented by fitting GRAPPLING IRONS. Wooden shafts often had their rotten ends cut off and replaced by a CAST-IRON combined Poll End and NECK JOURNAL which was secured in the same way as a CROSS-TAILED GUDGEON to the end of the WINDSHAFT remaining inside the mill. Cast-iron windshafts were usually cast in one piece complete with Poll End, though jointed windshafts are occasionally found. Also known as a CANISTER.

Poll Wedges
Wedges for securing the sail STOCKS in the POLL END.

also known as MIDDLINGS. Intermediate product or middle grade of FLOUR when passed through a DRESSER. May contain particles of BRAN with attached pieces of ENDOSPERM. Mediocre flour. see THIRDS and MIDDLINGS.

Poltrok Mill
See Paltrok Mill.

Poncelet Wheel
An improved type of lightly-constructed undershot waterwheel designed to run fast, fitted with metal buckets curved to a specific pattern; the water is channelled below an inclined sluice; invented by General J V Poncelet in 1824. Explore other types of waterwheel in our Thematic Glossary.

Pond Bay
Dam or embankment of the MILLPOND.

A framework supporting pulleys used in hoisting.

Porters Load
See Sack (of Flour).

Used for filling sacks. A suspended lever carries a wooden or metal ring with sack hooks at one end. Has sufficient leverage to enable the sack to be shaken manually. Steam mills had power driven-possers.

(1) The large upright timber post usually supported by for or more diagonal quarterbars on top of which a POST MILL BODY revolves. Sometimes called a MAIN POST or MILL POST. (2) Term applied to a pile of sheets, normally 144 but varying in number, of wet PULP, fresh from the mould, just made into paper couched with alternate felts and ready for pressing.

Post Mill
The earliest form of European mill, the body of which, containing the machinery & carrying the sails, is turned into the wind about a upright timber post.

A GUDGEON which houses the lower end of a SPINDLE.

Pot Barley
See Pearl Barley.

One of the series of BEATERS or engines used in washing and preparing especially esparto into a PULP.

Potters Mill
For grinding marble, stone and bone materials for use in ceramic industries. Also called FLINT MILL.

(1) A body of water confined by a DAM, as in a MILLPOND. (2) The water in a canal impounded behind a lock. (3) An enclosure for holding stray or trespassing animals.

Powder Mill
See Gunpowder Mill.

Powder Mills
General term formerly applied to a gunpowder factory.

Power Mill
A mill powered by steam, oil, gas or electricity.

Power Train
The system of gears, pulleys, shafts and belts designed to transmit the power of the waterwheel, turbine or steam engine to various pieces of machinery.

Prentice Furrow
The shorter FURROW which lies next to the JOURNEYMAN FURROW on a MILLSTONE.

A machine used to compress black-powder into hard slabs prior to corning.

Presse Pâté
Machine practically identical to the wet end of a FOURDRINIER paper-machine used to turn wood PULP into sheets which can he transported to another mill for making into the final paper.

The operation of compressing milled black-powder into slabs of a high (c 1.75) density.

Pressure Sails
A type of PATENT SAIL having one shutter per bay and narrowing towards the tip (term used by Lancashire millwrights). See PATENT SAILS.

Prick Post
The central vertical stud in the breast of a post mill.

A pointed chisel-like tool used with a hammer for dressing the lands of a millstone. See also PICK.

Producer Gas
Gas produced on site in a producer plant by partial combustion of solid fuel. Predominantly carbon monoxide and nitrogen, it is usually used in gas engines.

Proof Staff
A proven cast-iron, steel or slate bar, ground perfectly flat, usually housed in a wooden case, used to check the working face of the PAINT STAFF.

Provender Mill
A MILL in which animal foodstuffs are exclusively prepared.

See Proof Staff.

Prow Post
See Prick Post.

Cantilevered horizontal supports for the gallery of a smock or tower mill.

Pug Mill
A machine for mixing and homogenising clay in preparation for shaping it into bricks, tiles or pottery. Animal, water or wind powered in the past.

Pull-Rod Striking Gear
Patent Sail mechanism where the striking rod pulls rearward to close the shutters.

See Belt Pulley.

Pulley Block
See Block.

The aqueous STUFF containing disintegrated fibrous material from which paper is made.

Pulp Mill
A MILL which produces pulp for making paper. The raw material often being wood.

Edible seeds of leguminous plants such as peas and beans.

An Ardeer noun for charcoal and sulphur mixed in the proper ratio and finely powdered by energetic ball-milling, using steel balls in a steel drum. It formed part of the mill charge.

A devise for raising a liquid or forcing it along a pipe or compressing a gas.

Pump Wheel
A gear wheel, usually a bevel, on the same vertical shaft as a turbine pump impeller in a drainage mill (Norfolk).

Pumping Mill
A marsh windmill with reciprocating pump instead of a SCOOP WHEEL.

The horizontal timbers bracing the cap circle to the sheers and where fitted, supporting the GALLERY.

Purchase Shaft
Shaft carrying purchase wheel for patent sail control.

Purchase Wheel
Wheel with a groove or groves to take a chain which hangs down for manual operation. Chain may be attached or adheres to the wheel by friction (e.g. to operate patent shutters gear).

C19th device to separate similar-sized particles of flour from bran. The product falls through a horizontal air stream & is graded according to the density of the various components.

Horizontal member supporting rafters in a roof frame.

Push Rod Striking Gear
Patent Sail mechanism where the striking rod pushes forward to close the shutters.

See Trestle.