Please note

Because of the lack of published trowel and masonry tool histories, the information here is based on other sources that may be less reliable and certainly are incomplete. These include eBay and tools that I purchase myself that are the starting points for my research. I will write what I know as I learn it. If what you read here interests you, please check back often and look for revisions and corrections. Scanned catalogs are either mine or by Rose Antique Tools and used with permission, and are on Google Docs as pdf files. A few are links to other websites. Your photos and information are welcome. Please click on any picture to enlarge it. Comments are welcome, but any with links will be deleted as possible spam.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Millstone Tools

The Miller, Millwright and Millfurnisher, 1882
Millstones were used for grinding grain, pigments, graphite, and other granular substances. As millstones wear from use, they need to be dressed, meaning resurfaced, as shown in the YouTube videos below. The primary tool used is a mill pick, also called millstone pick or a mill bill and thrift, which is a steel mill pick head that is wedged into a thick wooden handle. This article, "The life and times of Michaelchurch Mill" has a picture of millstone dressing tools. The high spots on the stones are checked with a wooden paint-staff onto which red oxide or chalk is rubbed. The paint-staff is can be checked for straightness against a cast iron proof-staff.
Most US manufacturers of stone mason's tools made mill picks at some time. Several small businesses and probably many individual blacksmiths specialized in forging mill picks and resharpening them. Used picks would be delivered or mailed back, to be heated, the edges drawn out, tempered, then sharpened on a grindstone. These small US makers included John C. Higgins & Son of Chicago, IL, J. Knight of Baltimore, MD, and J. G. Pollard of Brooklyn, NY.

The Roller Mill, Vol 17, 1898


Millstone pick, J. Knight, Baltimore












The Roller Mill, Vol 17, 1898
Millstone pick, Norway (missing one bit) 

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