Milling,Vol.147,No.18,374-375(1966) (copy for reference, because it is difficult to get now.)

Special technical terms for millstones, which we can not get from ordinary dictionary)

Left:10-quarter-4-furrow millstone right :13-quarter 3-farrow bedstone or fixed stone

"Master Furrows"

My next investigation concerned the "furrows" or "grooves" which usually ran from the outside edge of the stone towards the inner part called the "eye". These "furrows" were called "master furrows" and the remaining shorter ones "secondary furrows". The function of the "furrows" was threefold, namely, to distribute the meal to the grinding surfaces, move the meal towards the outlet, and to supply air for ventilation. If the grinding faces of the millstones were smooth and had no furrows, they would certainly pulverize the grain, but it would be difficult for the ground product to pass out of the millstones, resulting in an accumulation taking place rendering further grinding impossible. We also learn that "furrows" of one sort or another were used in former times long before French millstones came into use. Those used in this type of stone were somewhat varied, according to the views of the miller, but usually they were about 1,1/2in. to 1,3/8in. in width and had a depth of 1/2 in. at the deepest point, rising to the level of the stone face.

A Counterpart to the Modern Flute

Spaces between the "furrows" on the mill-stone face were called the "lands", usually covered with fine lines, which might be described as shallow grooves, generally ranging from about 1 2 to 20 per in. according to the size of the "lands" where the actual work of grinding was carried out. The work of cutting these fine lines was known as "cracking", carried out by means of a sharp pick or chisel some-times called a " pitchel" or "pritchel". In face of this one could almost say these fine lines were a counterpart to the present-day fiutes on our break rolls. The next word I came across was "rhynd" which might be described as a bow-shaped iron crossbar let into the stone and connected

When a Quarter is Not a Quarter

During my investigation I had occasionally come across the word "quarter" of which l had taken little note until I chanced across a notice claimed to be from one of the largest firms of millstone makers in England who declared they could supply millstones with any number of "quarters" up to 16. Surely, l thought. This must be a spelling mistake, so l booked the word up in In my dictionary which described a quarter as a fourth part of the whole. On the face of this I decided to let the matter drop when later, turning over some old papers. I came across an illustration of a millstone with furrows marked in which was described as being a 12-quarte dress; then of course I realized that the word " quarter" did not refer to the quarter of the diameter of the stone but to the number of sections each containing a number of furrows. Here take a look at Fig.l and Fig.2 on page 374, How this word came to be associated with millstones is difficult to say after this long time for I could find no further reference to it.

As I was about to conclude my investigations I came across correspondence that apparently passed between millers in an old milling journal who were evidently engaged in solemnly discussing the wisdom as to whether their millstones should be "bosomed". Doubtless a matter of great importance in those days although unfortunately nothing in the correspondence indicated what the word meant. Again to the dictionary for guidance --only to find that millstones were right "out". The correspondence did go on to say, however, that both millstones could be "bosomed" up to about 1/2 in, or perhaps less: this might be a clue!

After studying the matter I wondered if this "bosoming" business meant that the surfaces of the millstones were slightly raised either towards the center or the outer circumference almost the same as our present-day rolls have the diameter gradually increasing to about a thousandth of an inch or so towards the center; however, no information on this point was forthcoming.

Historical Interest

As requested I have succeeded in giving a few descriptive notes on words as used in the millstone age which may prove of interest to others. I don't doubt there must be many more such words that were used in forrner times, maybe hidden away in old books or papers in a lumber room, and perhaps this article will help to create an interest to search through the archives of some long established business where there must be a wealth of fascinating material only waiting for someone to come along and add to our knowledge of the past.