Lou's Place in Cyberspace

 STOVER MILL

Built by Henry Stover at Erwinna, Bucks County, Pennsylvania-1832.

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One day in October of 2007, I received a call from a Mr. Tom Williams, a member of the Tinicum Civic Association. He had viewed my mill study section on this web site and told me about a mill in his town. He asked if I was interested in seeing it and taking a tour. We arranged to meet at the mill in early November of 2007.

On the specified day I drove to the mill site in Erwinna, about an hour and a half from my home. Arriving at the mill I noticed it was well kept and in good condition on the exterior. I noticed a date near the peaked roof of "1832". The mill site is located on the west bank of the Delaware River, and fronts on Pennsylvania Rt. 31. Tom Williams arrived and gave me a tour of the interior and answered my questions regarding the mill.

The interior condition of the mill is in very good condition and had much of the original milling equipment still in place. All the interior was clean and well kept, quite a difference from most mills I have investigated. Often mill buildings are converted to housing or stores, or left to completely fall apart from neglect, and often dangerous to enter. This mill was in good condition with most of the original equipment still connected looking like it was ready to start in a moment.

I realized this mill presented an opportunity to investigate a 19th. century mostly intact grist-mill structure and to be able to link all the equipment and machinery as it was originally connected when the mill was built. It offered the opportunity to, in a sense, reverse-engineer the structure and learn how it was used to make its final products, flour for local and commercial use, and animal feed for the local farmers.

I told Tom I would like to undertake a study of the mill if that were possible. He agreed it would be an interesting project and presented the idea to the Tinicum Civic Association. The Association agreed to permit the study and we arranged a future date to begin the project.

Tom had arranged for me to have full access to the mill. He would let me in, turn off the alarm systems and leave me in the mill to collect the data and dimensions. When I left I made sure the lights were off and the exiting door locked. I began the project using the rear, southeast corner of the mill as the data reference point.

The structure has three main floors, and a basement and a sub-basement. My goal was to create a 1:1 scale model of the entire mill and everything within it. At the time it seemed like it would take a year or so to do. In reality between the three hour round trip, a full time job, and not many free weekends, the project took a total of seven years to get to this point of writing this page!

I hope you will find at least some of this material interesting, and a view into a technology that was new and ever expanding at that time. Some of the devices within the mill were used the world over as America was the center of milling technology as the American Industrial Age began to grow at this period of national development.

I want to thank Tom Williams for all his help and enthusiasm, and all the members of the Tinicum Civic Association who were helpful, enthusiastic and pleasant people to work with over the years.

Lou Robertella 2014

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