The Pioneer Estonian Flour Mill

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The Original Milltone
During the early years of the Stettler area, before the railway came through and made travel much easier, a simple trip to get food was an all-day affair. Pioneers would have to travel to Red Deer to get supplies for the farm.
One of the most common items bought by pioneers was flour. So, it was no surprise when some enterprising settlers decided to provide flour locally. Magnus Tipman had arrived in the area, along with Hans Johansen, from Estonia. They saw the need for a flour mill and decided they would be the ones to fill that niche.
Johansen had a knowledge of mathematics and mechanical drafting, so he drew up the design for the flour mill. Both men then got to work building the mill on the land of Johnson. The flour mill itself was built from wood, with a wind mill fan that had four blades in order to power the mill. The blades were mounted on an axle, which was mounted on a huge gear that turned the grinding stone. Even the gears were made by hand, and out of wood rather than iron.
The entire flour mill was in a small building, with the windmill that could be turned depending on the direction of the wind. The grain was placed in a storage box that as passed through a shaker tray. The grain was ground between the grindstones, which would become flour and put into an attached bag.
During its operation, the mill produced wheat flour, rye four and pearled barley that was often used in porridge. As well, barley sausage as produced, which was a delicacy in Estonia.
When Johansen died in 1910, followed by Tipman in 1913, John Magnus Tipman would take over as the owner and operator of the flour mill.
Throughout the 1920s, Tipman would operate the mill. He purchased land nearby in that decade and moved the entire windmill, piece by piece, to the new land. He also had the mill powered by a one-cylinder engine.
As the 1930s wore on, the mill would operate less and less until 1925, when its shutdown for good. The entire flour mill was then dismantled.
Suggestions for columns or questions? E-mail Craig at crwbaird@gmail.com. Listen to his podcast by searching for “Canadian History Ehx” on your podcast form. Find his show on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/c/CanadianHistoryEhx
Information for this column comes from Botha
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