By letter b

Back & Brod

A balance beam (back or bauk) with scales (boards) used for weighing heavy objects. (Scotland)

Back Cross Beam
A timber beam which supports the tail end of the windshaft.
Back Edge

The trailing edge of the LAND of a MILLSTONE.

Back Frame
Supports weather-boarding at the rear of a post mill.
Backing
see .
Backlash
Free movement between two sets of gear teeth.
Backs
see SAIL BACK
Backshot Wheel

See PITCHBACK WHEEL.

Backstays
Struts at back of a sail which provide supports for the sail bars & maintains the angle of weather.
Back To Back

see DULL to DULL.

Backwater
When the water level in the TAIL RACE of a VERTICAL WATERWHEEL partly submerges the lower part of the wheel, it acts as a brake on its motion, greatly reducing the power available; this is known as being Backwatered. It can similarly impede the motion of a HORIZONTAL waterwheel.
Back Watering
The drag caused by the immersion of the lower part of a waterwheel, in relatively static water..
Back Winded
see TAIL WINDED.
Bails
Curved iron tongs, or separate arms, suspended from a STONE CRANE for lifting and turning a RUNNER STONE. See also CALLIPERS.
Baker’s Flour
A grade of flour below PATENT and used in the baking trade.
Balance
In order to grind evenly and to run smoothly, a MILLSTONE must be balanced. There are two modes of balance to consider. See STATIC BALANCE. See RUNNING BALANCE.
Balance Box

A small iron box or cavity let into the upper face of some runner stones for the insertion of lead or iron BALANCE WEIGHTS. There are usually four.

Balance Dish
Automatic device for ensuring a regular feed into a machine.
Balance Irons
see GOVERNOR
Balancer Box

See BALANCE BOX.

Balance Rhynd
see RHYND.
Balancer Wheel
see PITCHBACK WHEEL.
Balance Weights

Lead or iron weights inserted in the runner stone to achieve perfect balance . Patent balance weights employed discs of lead or iron carried on a threaded screw.

Balancing
(1) The process of adjusting the breaks and separations in a roller mill to produce the desired yield. (2) Ensuring the post mill body is correctly balanced on the post. (3) Ensuring the sails are correctly balanced to reduce the strain on the mill and increasing the ability to start in light winds. (4).RUNNER STONE is balanced to run evenly.
Balcony
see STAGE
Balk

see BAULK.

Ball Finial
Ornamental spherical top piece on a smock or tower mill cap.
Ball Mill
(1) Large wooden barrel or cylinder containing blocks of hardwood. The barrel revolved on its axis, and was used to pulverise corned black powder and make mealed powder (q.v.). (2) Large barrel or cylinder containing wooden or iron balls. The barrel is rotated on its axis to pulverise or polish the ingredients.
Bannock
A small quantity of meal of oats, barley or peas due to the servants of the mill by those grinding their grain in it (Scot.).
Bar, Bars
(1) see BRIDGE. (2) see SAIL BARS.
Bark Mill

A MILL used for grinding tree bark - usually oak - to allow the extraction of tannin for tanning leather.

Barley

Hordeum Sp. (Gramineae). The most abundant cereal crop in Britain lacks high gluten content & is thus unsuitable for bread-making; used as animal food & in brewing. See GRAIN

Barley Mill
A machine for removing the bran or skin from barley grains to make pearl barley.
Barley Stones
see MILLSTONES, PEAK.
Barn Scoop
see SCOOP.
Barrel Vault
Hole through which the WINDSHAFT passes, at the front of the mill, sometimes with an iron shield or plate to keep out the weather.
Base
The short brick tower supporting a smock mill.
Baseplate
see BEDPLATE.
Batter
Slope of the wall of a tower windmill, at an angle from the vertical.
Baulk
A structural timber of large square cross section.
Baxter
A baker (Scot.).
Bay
(1) the space between the sail bars of shuttered sails, usually containing three shutters. (2) see MILL DAM. (3) The division between the frames of a waterwheel. (4) The space between roof couples in a house, mill or building.
Beading
The continuous projecting lip or edge. usually convex, found on castings.
Beam
General term for a large structural piece of timber or iron forming one of the main members of a building or machinery component.
Beam Scales

A pivoted beam suspended at its centre, carrying a frame to support a sack at one end and a support for weights at the other.

Bean Crackers
A purpose made type of crusher or a pair of stones.
Beard

Hair-like growth found on the end of wheat or barley kernels.

Bearing

That part of a machine which supports a JOURNAL. Usually made of brass or gun-metal, but sometimes hardwood, stone or castiron. See BRASS or HALF BRASS. See JOURNAL. see NECK BEARING.

Bearing Box
see WALL BOX.
Beater
Device generally assumed to have been invented in the middle of the seventeenth century in Holland and which superseded the older method of preparing the PULP by hammering or stamping the rags in a mortar. Also known as a HOLLANDER or a HOLLANDER BEATING MACHINE.
Beater (Flour)
The fixed wooden bars in a CENTRIFUGAL FLOUR DRESSER which throw the meal against the silks, also the fixed bars in a bolter against which the sleeve strikes.
Beaterman
Person who supervises the mortar and pestle engines in which rags are pulped.
Beater (Paper)
Machine for beating paper PULP. See HOLLANDER.
Beater Roll
A cylinder or drum with knives set around its circumference which cut up the rags and fibrillate the fibres against the bedplate set in the bottom of the beater trough.
Beating Engine
see HOLLANDER.
Beatling
see BEETLING .
Beaver
A heavy milled woollen cloth with a raised finish.
Bedplate
The cast iron plate which acts as the foundation for an item of machinery. A flat plate of iron in the bottom of the trough in a STAMPER, against which the rags are pounded. In a HOLLANDER beater so that the PULP has to pass between it and the roll above it. The distance between the two determines the fibre length of the PULP.
Bedstone

The lower fixed MILLSTONE in a horizontal pair. Also known as a ligger, nether stone, lower millstone, under stone or lyer (to"lig" = to"lie" in Cumbrian dialect).

Beehive Cap
Kentish name for a conical domed cap. Also called PEPPERPOT or CONICAL in some areas. See CAP (SHAPES)
Beehive Quern
see QUERN BEEHIVE.
Beeswings
Rough particles of outer husk from wheat or buckwheat which escapes being ground, that might tear a hole in the bolting SILK.
Beetling
A pounding process in the finishing of linen cloth, performed by a series of hammers pounding the material.
Behr Stones
see MILLSTONE BURR.
Bell

A cranked triangular-shaped iron lever bracket, part of a patent sail mechanism.

Bell Alarm
see ALARM BELL.
Bell Crank
A crank, triangular or L-shaped, pivoted at one apex and used for altering the direction of a mechanical force. Known as TRIANGLES if found on sails. Named from the use of this device in mechanical doorbells.
Belly Helve

see TILT HAMMER.

Belly Helve Hammer

The cams lift the helve midway between the pivot and the head.

Belt
An endless loop for transmitting power from one pulley wheel to another. Made of leather, canvas & rubber etc.
Belt Pulley

A wheel with a broad flat or convex rim, sometimes flanged, used with a driving belt. Also called a WOOD RIGGER (old term).

Bere or Beir
An early form of a four rowed barley, once widely used and grown in Scotland; still grown in the Orkney Isles. (Scot.).
Bereuuic (Bereuuicos, A Berewick)
A demesne farm. A hamlet or member of a manor; essentially a corn farm. (ancient document term)
Berry
A grain of wheat.
Bevel Gears
GEAR WHEELS profiled to drive at an angle to each other, with the face at an acute angle to the driving shaft. See also FACE WHEEL.
Bevel Wheel
see BEVEL GEAR.
Biddle
A wooden mallet (old Sussex).
Bill

Hard steel double-ended wedge-shaped chisel, held in a handle (THRIFT), used for dressing stones; traditionally carbon steel; modern bills may be tipped with tungsten carbide. Flat or Pick.

Bin

Storage compartment for grain, usually arranged on the top floor of the mill (BIN FLOOR).

Binder
A horizontal heavy structural timber in a smock mill.
Bin Floor

The floor to which grain is raised to be kept in storage bins; usually the top floor. Also known as a GARNER FLOOR or GRANARY FLOOR.

Birds Beak Joint
Notches at the junction of quarter bar & cross trees. Also known as BIRDSMOUTH JOINT. (carpentry term for an abutment notch for a sloping member meeting a horizontal or vertical one).
Birdsmouth Joint
see BIRDS BEAK JOINT.
Bist
A small cushion of BRAN or OFFAL, used by the stone dresser to kneel on or to rest his elbow. (local term).
Bit
see BILL.
Bitch
The small sack into which the miller's share of the meal (or mill mooter) passes through a small hole in the spout (Scot.)
Black Grease
(1) Horse fat for lubricating gears & bearings. (2) A grease made from lard mixed with graphite powder.
Black-Lead
It is graphite, as used on old iron stoves.
Black Mill
(Mhuilinn Dhu) See Norse Mill Shetland Mill (Scot.).
Blackpowder
Synonymous with gunpowder. Probably dates from the introduction of smokeless powder for guns.
Blacksmith
A smith who works with iron.
Black Smut
see SMUT.
Blade, Blades
(1) the arm of a FAN which propels the air. (2) see VANES
Blade Mill
A mill for grinding or sharpening blades, swords, cutlery or other EDGE TOOLS.
Blending
(1) The mixing of various qualities of wool, prior to spinning. (2) The mixing of grain prior to grinding or flour prior to bagging.
Block
One or more rope pulleys (sheaves) mounted in a wooden block, used for lifting or moving heavy weights.
Bloom

An ingot, ball or lump of iron, having undergone the first hammering. The initial product of the direct iron making process.

Bloomer
A smith who makes BLOOMS.
Bloom Smithy
A FORGE where blooms were made.
Blowing House
A structure housing or adjacent to a furnace for smelting metallic ores or concentrates, which in early days was often equipped with water-powered bellows.
Blowing The Horn
A loud noise like a horn being blown, produced by the cap/sails of a windmill during a strong wind. Peculiar to Lincolnshire tower mills, exact cause unknown (Lincs.).
Blue Stone
see MILLSTONES CULLIN.
Board
A thick sheet of paper. It may be homogeneous throughout or may be made from layers of paper, either pressed together while wet or glued to form the sheet,
Board Machine
Similar to the cylinder MOULD machine but has from two to seven cylinder moulds in a line to form multi-ply boards.
Boat Cap
Typically of Norfolk, resembling an upturned boat.
Boat Mill
see FLOATING MILL.
Boat -Shaped Cap
see CAP SHAPES.
Bobbinite
A modified black-powder which was rendered non-incendive by the addition to it of 'Maizite' (q v.) and could therefore be used safely in gassy coal mines.
Bobbin Mill
A wood working MILL for the manufacture of bobbins used in the textile industry. Thread is wound on to them.
Bob Gin
A water-powered pump driven by cranks and oscillating beams.
Bobs
A counterweighted frame, hung on bell cranks, & employed to balance the weight of the pump rod in mine drainage installations, or to maintain a FLATROD line in tension.
Body

Whole upper part of a post mill above the trestle, containing all the machinery, which revolves as the mill is winded. See also BUCK.

Bogie
General term for a small, wheeled, roofed vehicle used for the conveyance of powder.
Boll
Unit of grain volume measurement. A boll of oatmeal is about 140lbs (Scot.).
Bollard
(1) The horizontal or vertical windlass or barrel of a SACK HOIST. (2) A post. See ANCHOR CHAIN.
Bolster
(1) The heavy plate supporting a neck bearing in a WINDMILL. (2) The heavy plate supporting the inner (outer) bearings of the wheelshaft.
Bolster Head
A wooden beam along the back wall of a horizontal mill supporting the inner end of the bearing (ground sill) that carries the horizontal wheel spindle.
Bolt
(1) A round iron or steel bar with a square (or later a hexagonal) head at one end and a screw thread at the other, to take a square (or later a hexagonal) internally-threaded nut. Used to hold or clamp two or more components together. (2) A sliding wooden or metal bar or rod, used to secure a door, shutter or other device. (3) The action of BOLTING. (to bolt).
Bolter

A mechanical device for separating flour from bran, by beating it through a rotating cylinder of cloth. This was at first of wool, then calico & latterly of silk, hence the term 'silks', but other cloth may be used. First introduced in C16th (later SILK MACHINES were used).

Bolting
Process of separating flour from bran or skin of the wheat by using fine mesh cloth serving as a sieve.
Bolting Cloth
The revolving sieve sleeve in a bolter, made of wool, calico, silk etc.
Bolting Reel
A frame, usually six or eight sided, mounted on a SHAFT(1) and covered with a BOLTING CLOTH. As the frame revolves, the fine particles pass through the cloth & thus the flour is separated from the bran.
Bonemeal Mill
see BONE MILL.
Bone Mill

A mill used for grinding bones for fertiliser and for the pottery industry.

Bonnet Cap
see BOAT shape.
Bonsucken
see SUCKEN (Scot.).
Boom

A floating log anchored across the entrance to the mill race designed to prevent floating debris from damaging the wheel.

Boot
The bottom of an ELEVATOR.
Boring Mill
see CANNON-BORING MILL.
Bosom
see SWALLOW.
Bottle Mills
Small type of Lincolnshire tower mill. Name due to its shape. May have been raised at some time thus giving it its bottle shape.
Bottle Screw
see TURNBUCKLE.
Bottom Side Rails
Lower side rails parallel with and below the SIDE GIRTS of a POST MILL.
Boulter

An alternative spelling of BOLTER.

Boulter Head
Wooden stakes packed with stones against the bay of the mill pond. Often packed with iron slag in forge mills (old Sussex).
Boulting
see BOLTING.
Boulting Machine
see BOLTER.
Bouts
Revolutions of a wheel or sail.
Box
The cast-iron or wooden box in the eye of a bedstone, containing the brasses and grease-wedge which form the bearing for the stone spindle.
Box Section Rim
A hollow rim of square or rectangle section.
Boy
see SACK BOY.
Brace(s)
(1) A timber used to strengthen the rigidity of a mill frame, e.g. ties, triangulating beams. (2) The diagonal support(s) of a smock or tower mill gallery. (3) On tailpole winded tower or smock mill caps, the inner (or short brace) and outer (long brace) upright supports of the cap-mounted tail pole.
Brake
In windmills, a band brake of wood or iron working on the outer rim of the BRAKE WHEEL, & controlled by a BRAKE LEVER, BEAM or STAFF & BRAKE ROPE. Also known as a GRIPE.
Brake Anchorage
The EYE BOLT to which one end of the BRAKE is fixed in a WINDMILL.
Brake Beam
see BRAKE LEVER.
Brake Catch
Pivoted wood or iron hook to retain the brake in the 'off' position.
Brake Drums
The friction drive clutch which transmits the drive to the SWEEP ARMS of a flint-GRINDING PAN
Brake Lever
The lever operating the brake mechanism. See also BRAKE.
Brake Rope
The rope to work the BRAKE. also called a SNAP ROPE.
Brake Screw
A screw mechanism for applying the brake particularly in tower mills, invented by the millwrights Holloway Bros., Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex.
Brake Shutters
AIR BRAKES.
Brake Staff
see BRAKE LEVER.
Brake Wheel

Primary gear wheel in a windmill mounted on the WINDSHAFT, having face or bevel gear, which drives the WALLOWER, having a contracting brake acting on its rim. Also known as a HEAD WHEEL.

Bran
Ground PERICARP layer of the GRAIN, which may be separated by bolting. The flakes of the outer casing of wheat grain after grinding.
Bran Duster
A machine to remove flour adhering to the bran.
Bran Jumper
see JOG-SCRY.
Brass
A broad term used for brass bearings.
Bray
see BRAYER.
Brayer
The pivoting beam or lever supporting the free end of the BRIDGE TREE, used for the fine adjustment of the gap between the millstones; forms part of the tentering gear.
Brayer Beam
see BRAYER.
Brayer Iron
see BRAYER.
Brayer Tree
see BRAYER.
Break
Any one of the roller grinding processes by which the grain is reduced to flour. (First, Second and Third breaks - there can also be 4th & 5th breaks. 4 is normal.)
Breaker
(1) Machine with two cracker rolls (q.v.) used to break slabs of mill-cake prior to pressing. Also termed cake-breaker. (2) Gives the primary reduction of the pieces of rags to make them smaller and fit for their final beating in the Hollander. Also known as a BREAKER ENGINE.
Breaker Engine
see BREAKER.
Break Flour
Flour produced in the break rolls of a roller mill. Usually of inferior quality, as the breaks are set to produce minimum flour. See REDUCTION ROLLS.
Breaking Down
The operation of reducing the size of fragments of mill cake prior to pressing.
Breaking Joint
The staggering of joints to preserve overall strength e.g.: in a curb, 2 wooden rings of which one overlaps the other.
Break Rolls
Grooved rollers used for breaking the grain. Used in the first stage of ROLLER MILLING prior to reduction etc.
Breast
(1) The curved face of a wheel pit. (2) see BREAST of a MILLSTONE. (3) Where the WATERWHEEL is struck by water at about axle level. (4) The front of a POST MILL.
Breast Beam

(1) The main horizontal transverse beam supporting the NECK OF THE WINDSHAFT. Also known as WEATHER BEAM or RODE BALK. (2)The transverse beam in the breast of the mill beneath the STONE FLOOR, in which case the BREAST BEAM is called the WEATHER BEAM. (East Anglia).

Breast Box
The part of the paper-machine from which the PULP issues onto the moving wire. On most recent machines, the PULP is forced out of the BREAST BOX under pressure.
Breast Cap Sills
The two timbers used to support the roof members of some caps.
Breast (Millstone)

The middle section of the grinding surface of a MILLSTONE.

Breast Of A Mill
The front part of the BODY (or BUCK) of a POST MILL between the MAIN POST and the SAILS.
Breast Roll
The roller around which the wire on a FOURDRINIER machine passes under the BREAST BOX just before the STUFF is poured onto it.
Breast-Shot Wheel

A WATERWHEEL which is turned by the weight of water in its BUCKETS, the water entering the buckets at about the level of the WHEELSHAFT. Developed in the 18th and 19th centuries. See also HIGH BREAST WHEEL, FOUR-O’CLOCK WATERWHEELLOW BREAST WHEEL.

Explore other types of waterwheel in our Thematic Glossary.

Breastsummer
see BRESSUMER.
Breast Wheel

See BREAST-SHOT WHEEL.

Bredgrass
see BRIDGING BOX.
Bresummer
A large horizontal timber in a post mill.
Breyer
see BRAYER.
Bridge
Curved metal bar secured across the eye of runner stone supporting it on the top of the spindle. See BALANCE RHYND of which it is a part.
Bridge Beam
see BRIDGE TREE.
Bridge Rynd
see BRIDGE.
Bridge Tree

An adjustable lever beam supporting the thrust bearing at the foot of the stone spindle & thus bears the weight of the runner stone; raised or lowered for adjusting or TENTERING the gap between the stones. Part of the hursting or hurst frame. Sometimes made of iron.

Bridging Box
An open-topped iron box to contain and locate the FOOTBRASS of a vertical shaft. Usually has 3 or 4 BRIDGING SCREWS to locate and secure the footbrass to correctly align the shaft, and commonly fitted to BRIDGE TREES to carry the STONE SPINDLE. May also be fitted below the UPRIGHT SHAFT or other vertical shafts.
Bridging Screws
The screws set round a BRIDGING BOX which are used to adjust the position of the TOE BRASS to get the correct vertical alignment of a stone spindle or other vertical shaft. They usually have square heads, but may have ring-shaped heads similar to eye-bolts.
Bridle
see BRAYER (Suffolk).
Bridle Irons
(1) An iron coupling in patent sail mechanism connecting the spider to the bell cranks. (2) Clamps to hold a sail back to the arm of a cross.
Brigging
The accurate plumbing of the spindle, by adjusting the THRUST-BEARING, a process ensuring that the stone spindle is vertical.
Brigging Bar
JACKSTAFF (N.E.Yorkshire).
Brigging The Spindle
Truing up the spindle by adjusting the BRIDGING SCREWS or adjusting wedges to ensure the stone spindle is at right angles to the face of the BEDSTONE. The JACKSTAFF is used to indicate when the spindle is correctly adjusted. Also known as TRAMMING/TRAMMELING.
Bright
A water meadow glistening with water, but not flooded.
Broad and Fleet
Broad and shallow FURROWS on a MILLSTONE.
Broad Bran
Large flaked BRAN.
Broad Cloth
Originally cloth made on a broad loom. Latterly any cloth of a plain weave heavily milled.
Brown Stone
see COMPOSITION STONE.
Brush
see BEARD
Brush Machine
A machine for brushing and polishing wheat after being smutted but before magnetic separation and grading.
Brush Sifter

Variety of dresser with fixed horizontal cylindrical wiremesh screen, 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8m) long in which angled brushes rotate to drive the meal lengthwise while it is being sieved.

Buck
see BODY (East Anglian).
Bucket Elevators
Endless canvas belts carrying copper or composition buckets, whereby powder in process is raised to a higher level, as in a corning machine.
Bucket Mill
A water-powered mill where wooden buckets are made (e.g. Finzean Bucket Mill near Banchory, Deeside).
Buckets
Partitions or receptacles around the rim of a WATERWHEEL in which the water is held, in order to use its weight to turn the wheel. In cases where a high velocity flow of water is directed into the buckets, some kinetic energy may be converted into useful energy by the wheel. Buckets are fitted to OVERSHOT, BACKSHOT and most BREAST-SHOT wheels. May vary in shape. See also SHROUDS, FLOATS, VENTILATED BUCKET and UNVENTILATED BUCKET.
Bucket Wheel
A WATERWHEEL with BUCKETS round its rim.
Buckwheat
Polygonum fagopyrum A three-cornered seed, used for horse and poultry feeds, for Galettes in France and the Netherlands and for breakfast cakes. in the U.S.
Buddle
In mining, a vessel used with water to extract ore from lighter particles.
Buhr Stone
see MILLSTONE BURR.
Bulls Eye
A circular hole in a wall. See also BARREL VAULT.
Bull Wheel
see WALLOWER ( Irish ).
Bund
The raised bank, or embankment of a mill pond.
Bunting Mill
see CLOTH MILL (West country).
Burr
see MILLSTONE BURR.
Burr Spindle
see STONE SPINDLE.
Burr Stone

also known as FRENCH BURR STONE. Imported millstones, usually built up of shaped blocks of freshwater quartz (siliceo calcareous stone) quarried in the Paris basin mainly near La Ferte sous Jouarre along the River Marne and at Epernon; set in cement or Plaster of Paris and bound with metal bands, for grinding wheat to produce flour. Introduced to England in the C15th. Generally about 4ft diameter and 1ft thick, weighing up to 18cwt. Very occasionally stones made from a single block of stone. Valued as the stone for producing white flour. Made up into millstones in numerous places in Britain.

Bushel
A measure of volume of grain; the weight will vary with the type of grain. (equal to 8 gallons or four pecks).
Butterfly Furrow
see FLY FURROW. See SICKLE DRESS. See DRESS (2) QUARTER DRESS.
Button Mill
A manufactury for making buttons from materials such as bone, mother of pearl etc.
Bypass
A channel to take water which is surplus to requirements, past a waterwheel.
Bywater’s Roller Sails
A type of PATENT SAIL (no.2782) by Captain Stephen Hooper in 1804, using roller reefing gear with rollers parallel to the sail back.

Search the glossary…

Add Term

Have you spotted a term we don't know about or want to suggest changes to an existing term? Add your information below.

If you are a friend of the archive please login first.

Add your term…