How The Mill Operates

After the Revolutionary War when labor costs to maintain a mill were costly, Wye Grist Mill implemented the, "Oliver Evans Automated Milling System" to run the Mill.  In 1783, while living at "Tuckahoe" in Talbot County, Maryland, Oliver Evans designed the automated milling process for the Wilmington, Delaware mill that was owned by two of his brothers.  Evans received a Maryland patent in 1787 on the machinery he developed and a United States patent in December 1790.


Old Wye Mill uses the Evans' Automated Milling System.  I was probably installed between 1789 and 1804.

Evans summarized the advantages of his plan in his book "The Young Millwright and Miller's Guide" (pub. 1795).

First, the meals quick drying time better prepared it for "bolting, packing and keeping".  Fermentation the flour was retarded. (note: the old method took 12 hours to dry which allowed insects time to infest the flour with their eggs). Second, the new machinery carried out the cleaning and bolting more effectively. Third, less waste occurred. Fourth, the machinery took up much less room than traditional layouts. Fifth, the new process allowed the miller to pay more attention to keeping his stones in good order and made his work steadier and more regular. Sixth the machinery would last a long time in good repair since no one part carried a heavy strain. Seventh, the mill could operated with low water power because the machinery distributed stress. Eighth, the machinery cut labor costs in half.