Saturday, 9 October 2010

Working with steam

This weekend another big event in Stotfold's year is taking place at Stotfold Mill. The working steam weekend is a chance to see firsthand how steam power really helped industry.

The main attraction is the steam-powered machinery, which is used to thresh wheat for the mill.

The thresher shakes the wheat to separate the grains, which fall into bags. Some grain is taken to the mill to be ground into flour (the mill is open too this weekend) and some is sold for chicken feed!

The straw passes to the rear of the thresher, where it is moved by hand onto a baler. This machine is powered by a diesel engine on a tractor.

The wheat was grown in a field adjoining the mill and was cut several weeks previously by steam powered machinery and by hand.

Other industries are represented this weekend. A popular machine is the plank cutter, which (as expected) cuts tree trunks into planks. A stone crusher was also in use, producing aggregate that a steamroller was pressing to create a road in the field.

We finally went to see the horses that were ploughing the field in which the wheat had been grown.

Slow work, and hard labour for the two men controlling the horses and plough.

On the walk home some Morris dancers were performing outside the mill. The kids were enthralled.

The working steam weekend is on today and Sunday, 10.30 am to 5.00 pm. £2 for adults, £1 per child 5 and over.

A horsedrawn fire truck passed us on the way home.

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1 comment:

  1. There's always a steam fair on near here over the August bank holiday. It's years now since I've been, perhaps I should pay it a visit next year.


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