The Industrial Windmill in Britain
Windmills have been around in Britain for some eight hundred years, grinding wheat into flour and, in some places, pumping water off low-lying land. These aspects of their story have been ably covered by an extensive literature. Passing mention has been made of other uses of wind power, such as crushing oil seed, sawing timber and grinding snuff, but no detailed consideration has ever been given to these alternative applications of the windmill. This new, thoroughly researched book fills that gap. The author has identified more than twenty 'industrial' uses, from the extraction and processing of raw materials and the manufacture of commodities to land-based facilities for their transport, in a total of 262 windmills. There were more, to which references have been found, particularly in relation to mines and salterns, but specific examples are lacking. In the early 18th century most corn mills were post mills, little changed from the 12th century. By the start of the 19th century, however, the windmill was very different, with tall brick towers, iron gearing and self-regulating devices, and the author shows how the evolution of these improvements resulted from the diverse use of wind power by the industrialists of the day.