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Learn more about the interesting terms used by millers in Washington's day.

Lower or stationary stone in a pair of mill stones.
A machine used for separating meal into grades of flour.
The outer coating of a grain of wheat or corn.
Buhr or Burr
Millstones quarried in France and generally made up in separate pieces of freshwater quartz.
Draw Knife
A two-handled knife used while seated on a shaving horse to shape wood into tool handles, barrel staves and wheel spikes. Used by coopers living at the gristmill.
The pattern of furrows in a millstone.
The act of dressing (or cutting out the furrows) of a millstone.
Face Gear
A gear wheel with cogs mortised into it’s face and usually associated with the driving of lantern pinions.
Flour Chest
Receives the meal from the stones (also can be called Meal Bin).
The channel or canal which carries water from the millrace, via a control gate (sluice gate) to the water wheel.
Channels cut in the grinding face of a millstone.
A wheel with teeth or rods made to fit together with other gears so that one gear’s turning causes the other gear to turn.
Greater Face Gear
The largest toothed gear in the mill. It is attached directly to the shaft of the waterwheel.
A mill used for the grinding of grains
Tapered wooden container for grain, mounted above and feeding millstones.
Hopper Boy
Machine used to cool and dry hot meal received from the millstones through a raking motion. (Until Evans system installed in GW mill, this process done manually with a rake)
Or Horse frame, is the framing on top of the stone casing and supporting the hopper and shoe.
Hurst Frame
The large, heavy wooden frame, which contains all gears and shafts for driving and supporting millstones.
Lesser Face Gear
The smaller toothed gear that fits together with other gears to turn the grinding stones.
Merchant Mill
A large gristmill having trade over a wide area.
Mill Bill (Mill Chisel)
The chisel used for dressing millstones.
The person who operates the mill.
Area of water normally created by a dam and which serves as a reservoir for water to power the water wheel.
The canal that carries water from the millpond to the mill.
A pair of large round stones between which grain is ground. The turning of the top stone (runner stone) does the grinding, while the bottom stone, (bedstone) does not move.
The person who designs, builds, and repairs a mill.
The upper or moving stone in a pair of millstones.
Tapered wooden trough, which is vibrated by damsel to feed grain evenly into millstones for grinding.
Channel which carries water from water wheel and back to stream.

The Working Gristmill

See, hear, feel the power of our working gristmill here at Mount Vernon. This video shows many of the marvelous working parts of this authentic 18th-century gristmill.

Watch the video