In 1905 a number of the local newspapers in north-east and east Scotland reported the erection of new threshing mills on a number of farms as farmers up dated their machinery or moved from using the travelling threshing mill to their own ones.
The erection of this plant was a significant occasion. It marked the introduction of new technology, a substantial investment into the farm and its activities as well as a change in the management of the processing of the grain crop. Farms generally marked this occasion with a social event in which neighbours and others were invited to partake in food and drink, and a congenial evening of activities. They also got to see the new mill at work. The feeding of the first sheaf into the mill was at some farms seen to be an important event. That task was sometimes given to a special member on the farm; it could be a long-standing farm servant or a past tenant.
Let’s go and read about some of these new mills:
(Banffshire journal, 10 January 1905)
Last week Mr Alex Jamieson, Mains of Skeith, had fitted up at his farm a fine new threshing mill, by Messrs Wright Bros., Boyne Mills. The mill is driven from a 12 feet by 4 feet bucket wheel, which had not to be disturbed from its place where it drove the old mill, and it, with very little inside gearing, making a powerful drive. At the start the mill threshed over 8 qrs per hour, carried the oats up to a high loft, and having a chaff blast, the chaff can be sent to any part of the farm buildings by a spouting. Messrs Wright deserve a great praise for their fine workmanship, seeing it is only about a month since Mr Jamieson gave them instructions to proceed with the work A few friends were present to witness the start, and these congratulated Mr Jamieson on having such a fine machine. A pleasant hour was spent afterwards, when the health of the millwrights was pledged.
(Banffshire reporter, 11 January 1905)
Last week Mr Alexander Jamieson, Mains of Skeith, had fitted up at his farm a fine new threshing mill, by Messrs Wright bros, Boyne Mills. The mill is driven by a 12 feet by 4 feet bucket wheel. At the start the mill threshed over 8 qrs per hour, carried the oats up to a high loft, and having a chaff blast, the chaff can be sent to any part of the farm buildings by a spouting. Messrs Wright deserves great praise for their fine workmanship, seeing it is only about a month since Mr Jamieson gave them instructions to proceed with the work. A few friends were present to witness the start. A pleasant hour was spent afterwards, when the health of the millwrights was pledged.
(Dundee courier, 16 March 1905)
Inaugural function near Auchterarder
A large number of agriculturists from Perthshire were yesterday drawn to the farm of East Kirkton, near Auchterarder, the occasion being the starting of a new threshing mill and other agricultural appliances.
There was a large attendance of agriculturists and others. Those present included Mr Robert Gardiner, Henhill; Mr A. C. Penfold, Bertha; Mr James Simpson, of Friarton Chemical works, Perth; Mr J. F. Smith, Eastfield; Mr John Hunter, of Messrs Hay & Co., Perth; Mr John Sharp, Mid Fordoun; Mr Thom Ferguson, Pictonshill; Mr W. Graham, Auchterarder; Mr Archibald Taylor, Broombarns; Mr Wm Cairns, Dalchruan; Mr A. T. Paterson, Auchterarder House; Mr A. Philp, Mains of Dunchrub; Mr John Taylor, West Park; Mr D. Campbell. Representing the gas Engine Co.; Mr Daniel Douglas, millwright & co; Mr R. Butter Malcolm of Auchterarder Castle; Mr T. E. Young, W.S., Auchterarder; Mr J. G. Scott, Denfield; Mr W. Morris, West Mill; Mr John Sharp, Bailieland; Mr William Gardiner, Low bank; Mr Fenwick, Leadketty; Mr Taylor, Chapelbank; Mr W. Robertson, Nether Fordoun; provost Dougall; Mr Macpherson, Newbigging; Mr Morris, Laigh of Rossie; Mr Christie, North Kinkell; Mr Fraser, Auchterarder; Mr Kemp Smith, of Kemp & Nicholson, Stirling; Mr Calder, Drumtog; Mr Stewart, Mosshead; Mr Wilson, Strathie: Mr Malloch, Auchterarder; Mr Thow, Rossie; Mr W. D. Grahaam, Auchterarder; Mr McIntyre, Wallfauld; Mr J. S. Leslie, Auchterarder; Mr P. Paton, Ruthven Villa; Mr Robertson, ironmonger; Mr Scott, east Fordoun; Mr Edgar, Queen’s Hotel; Mr Drummond, Whitefold; Mr Young, Hilton; &c.
The mill, which was constructed by Mr Daniel Douglas, millwright and engineer, Auchterarder, is a four feet high-speed finishing machine. It has been fitted with Douglas’ latest improved Hammlar, and there is a straw elevator to take the straw right away from the mill, discharging it on the loft or down below as required. The finished grain is then passed into a cupped elevator and carried right to the roof, and discharged into the vibrating spout or grain elevator. This conveyor discharges the grain into four different places in the granary. For such a purpose the material is necessarily of the very best quality, and the whole work has been most efficiently carried out.
The engine, which is made by the Campbell Gas Engine Company, Limited, Halifax, differs from other engines in that it has no overhanging cylinder, which reduces the vibration to a minimum , and at the same time gives great strength and rigidity to the machine. The oil tank is placed on the top of the cylinder, allowing the oil to run by gravitation to the vibratiser, and this doing away with the pump, which is usually found to be a source of annoyance. The engine is 15bhp, the maximum load being 17 hp. The consumpt of this type of engine is the lowest yet reached, namely, .72 per pint per hp., and it burns oil which can be bought at 4 1/2d per gallon. Off the engine is a connected shaft for driving the bruiser, which is a No. 8 Harris & Macgregor machine, and this shaft can also be utilised for driving any other machinery that may be put down. The old mill shed at the farm has been converted into a fodder preparing department, and by the new arrangements the work of the farm should be greatly accelerated.
The company afterwards drove to the Star Hotel, Auchterarder, where a splendid luncheon was served under the presidency of Mr Peter Mackie, the genial host.
Mr Robert Gardiner, Henhill, proposing the health of Mr Mackie, made a reference to the obligations of proprietors. In his view, machinery of such an expensive nature as they had just seen inaugurated ought to belong to the proprietor. It was a tribute to Mr Mackie that the cream of Perthshire agriculturists should have been present at the inauguration of the new threshing mill, and there was no more kind and straightforward man than Mr Peter Mackie. (applause)
Mr Mackie, in reply, said he felt proud that so many influential gentlemen in the county of Perth and from Stirling and Strathmore had attended that day, and he hoped what they had seen would be the means of similar improvements being adopted elsewhere. (Applause)
(Dundee courier 5 September 1905)
New threshing machinery at Laurencekirk
The other day there was started at the Home Farm of Johnston, Laurencekirk, a fine new threshing mill. The machinery is of the latest and most up-to-date type, consisting of a threshing mill with high-speed drum 3 ½ feet wide, improved double-crank shakers, barley awner, seed extractor, and dressing machinery. The machinery is driven by water power, and at the trial a stack of good strong oats was run through in a short time, dressed up ready for the market. The whole machinery was fitted up by the well-known makers, Messrs J. & D. Craig. Waterside, Plesdo, Laurencekirk.
(Montrose, Arbroath and Brechin review, 27 October 1905)
A gathering of farmers assembled at East Mains of Craichie, Letham, on Tuesday, to witness the start of a new threshing mill and engine. Mr Findlay, the new tenant, has made great alterations on this part of the steading.