Lou's Place in Cyberspace





The third floor of Castle Valley Mill has several intact pieces of processing equipment and parts. It is difficult to move thru the third floor without climbing over and around some interesting mill machinery.

Some of the pieces intrigued me as to how they did the processes intended. One piece of equipment was unusual and to learn how it operated, I searched the original patents dating to 1852. From the patent description I was able to understand how the equipment functioned and its developmental history. This equipment is called the "Eureka Brush & Finishing Machine". The manufacturer, S Howe of Silver Creek N.Y. is still in business! (See Eureka Brush Machine)

With the help of the three dimensional model, I was able to visualize how the bearing journal arrangement lined up indicating how the flow of primary power was once distributed around the mill.

Also found on this floor was a device I came to realize was a friction clutch. From remains of tell-tail parts, I was able to reconstruct the most likely arrangement used for this clutch and another located at the front of the mill.

Located at the rear of the third floor are the six elevator heads whose legs once ran thru the mill to the basement where their boots were located. A separate central elevator has its boot located of the first floor.(see First Floor)

Since all the basement elevator boots and chutes have been removed, it is difficult to understand just how the grain arrived at these boots in the basement, where it was scooped up and sent to the third floor.

From the bleaching affect of the sunlight on the mill parts over many years, it is possible to see the outline of where the grain directing chutes once branched out from the rear elevator heads to the various processing machinery.

On this floor the power from the vertical drive shaft coming from the drive machinery in the basement, was distributed to various shafts and pulley’s driving all the machinery in the mill.

Beside the "Eureka Brush Machine", there is an intact Cyclone Separator, a widely used but rare to find piece of processing equipment. Its design is still used to this day. There are various parts of other machinery laying about making the third floor and interesting place to explore.

Illustrations will show how this floor was found, and how it once looked.


Overall view of third floor showing it in present condition. Roof and rafters not shown for clarity. View from rear looking toward front.

View of Rear, and Central elevators, looking southeast. Note small circular hole in flooring where three inch power drive shaft was once located

View toward front section of mill showing right and left elevator heads and opening in floor.

The third floor was the center for the distribution and cleaning of the grain. After the grain was cleaned it was sent to the first floor for grinding.

After the millstones ground the grain, it was again passed to the third floor for cooling and "Bolting" or screening into the various grades of flour or for feed grain. It was then directed to the second floor for further processing, or storage in bins, sacks or barrels.

The third floor once housed bolters, cleaners, separators, vibrating vertical sifters, and ducts for transferring the product to various processing machinery.

Of all the mill equipment that was once located here, only three pieces of processing machinery are still intact and in their original locations. These are:

1-The "Eureka Brush & Finishing Machine" manufactured by the S. Howe’s Company of Silver Creek N.Y. It bears a patent date of 1872. A full explanation of this piece of equipment follows later.(see Eureka Brush Machine)

2.-A large "Cyclone Separator", manufacturer unknown. This was used to further separate the chaff and dust from grain after it left the Eureka Brush Machine.

3. A large bolter, apparently hand made on the site. It dispensed the various grade of sifted flour thru two chutes to the second floor area directly below it.

Located around the third floor are various bolters and sifters, randomly distributed. Some may have been original equipment and some were also collected by Henry Fischer and stored in the mill.

Also located on the third floor is the power transfer framing where the drive shaft from the machinery in the basement delivered its power.

The vertical power was here transferred to horizontal gearing then distributed around the mill via shafts and pulleys.

All the gearing and pulleys on this floor have been removed, but by using data gained from examining the mill’s present condition, illustrations will show how the mill was once driven and how the various parts were interconnected.


View of framing which once housed the gear system for power distribution. Note the hole in floor where the drive shaft from the machinery in the basement once passed. Notches once held the bearing journals which supported the horizontal power take-off shafts. Note notch in the timber near the bottom to allow room for belt clearance.

Another view of Power Transfer frame.

View of same location as above, showing gear and shaft arrangement.

Two large horizontal gears and a belt drive pulley attached to the main vertical drive shaft. Off the horizontal gear heads were two pinion gears to distribute the power horizontally.


Power from the water driven machinery in the basement of the mill was carried to the third floor by a three inch shaft. All of the machinery was driven from the power derived from this vertical shaft.

Mounted to the shaft were two horizontal gears and a belt pulley. A notch was cut out of the lower timber allowing room for a large belt once connected to the belt drive pulley.

This was the central hub of drive power distribution. The gear frames were made of cast iron, with notches allowing for the replaceable gear teeth, which were made of wood.

Using wood allowed for individual teeth to be replaced when worn or damaged. Usually apple wood was used for these teeth.

If the machinery jammed, a wooden tooth would snap off saving further damage to the equipment, much as a fuse in an electrical circuit blows to protect equipment down line from more extensive damage.

Power was taken off the main shaft to drive the six rear elevator heads by a horizontal shaft with a chain and sprocket connected to the elevator drive shaft. All power to drive the elevators was delivered to the top of the elevator heads.

Having the power delivered to the top of the elevator heads allowed the weight of the canvas bucket belt and metal buckets to pull the belts taught without slippage as would have occurred if they were driven from the bottom pulley.

This is the reason why the power was first delivered to the third floor, excepting the power to drive the grindstones, which would have been driven from shafts directly off the gearing in the basement on the "Hurst Frame".

As stated earlier, all the Hurst Frame gearing in the basement is missing. Most of the first floor floor-boards and timbers were replaced leaving no hint as to where the original stones were located.

The main rafter support beams on the third floor are constructed on a diagonal, directing the roof load to the main support timbers on the second floor to the basement and ground.

It can be clearly seen where the mill was extended in 1879 as the rafter supports are overlapped on the original beams at this location, and braced with an iron bolted band.

All structural timbers are of mortis and tenon construction. Sagging has occurred with age but the Mill is still sound.


Another view of the power take-off, looking toward the front of the mill. Some structural supports not shown for clarity.

Another view of same area looking towards rear of mill.

Photo of existing power transfer frame

View of rear elevator heads and drive sprocket on right. This sprocket was chain driven from the horizontal shaft from the power take-off. Elevator on far left, in profile, is the central rear elevator, its boot being on the first floor. It was also driven from a horizontal shaft off the main drive shaft.


All the directing chutes from the elevator heads have been removed, excepting the third elevator head from the left, which still has its chute which directed its output to an unknown processing device.

Each elevator head has a clean-out hole which is covered by a teardrop shaped hole cover. A platform located below the heads allowed a mill worker to have access to the cleanouts and the bearing journals for the drive shaft passing thru all six of the elevator heads.


View of elevator heads, clean-outs, and drive sprocket.

View of elevator platform and shaft support. Note notches cut in platform for the passage of the chain drive to sprocket.

Photos of existing rear elevator heads.

Rear elevator head discharge ports.

Rear elevators drive sprocket, view from rear of elevator.