Question re. stone grinding wheel.

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The Methley Archer
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Question re. stone grinding wheel.

Post by The Methley Archer »

Does anyone have a lead on information for stone grinding wheels like the one in the photo from COSG website. I've looked and can't find any information myself. I've got one in the garage on it's rotting frame.

Thanks.
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Re: Question re. stone grinding wheel.

Post by narvek »

http://www.larsdatter.com/grindstone.htm
As always Karen's site provides great insight! :thumbup:
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Re: Question re. stone grinding wheel.

Post by gregory23b »

There is written evidence pointing to water reservoirs under grindstones, in that the 'black water' is collected and used variously for dyeing leather and making inks.

Hampton Court has a large grindstone mounted in wood, with one of those reservoirs directly under the wheel.

The COSG one seems to derive from one of the types in the links provided above.

another link

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Depos ... undert.jpg
middle english dictionary

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Re: Question re. stone grinding wheel.

Post by Brother Ranulf »

Karen's list includes the Utrecht Psalter, which does indeed illustrate such a grindstone, complete with a shadow on the ground beneath. This source is from Byzantine-influenced Carolingian France in the 9th century and it's safe to say that such technology was known in that place at that time. As always it would be wrong to use this as evidence for its use elsewhere.

The Psalter later came to Canterbury on a very extended loan and was copied in part by early 12th century English monks who clearly had no understanding at all of the technology. They misinterpreted the shadow as a shelf or tray (clearly not present in the original) and concocted a non-existent seat for the man doing the sharpening - it is arranged so that (if constructed in that way) the man and seat would rotate along with the stone, with hysterical results. This has been misinterpreted from the crouched position of the man in the original manuscript, who is actually standing, not sitting. Where the English monks are simply copying the original pictures, they use the same Byzantine style of drawing, but where they are on familiar territory and illustrating things they know about an obviously home-grown Canterbury style is used.

I believe that it is significant that no English source for grinding wheels earlier than the 14th century is known, despite rotary millstones being known and used for over a thousand years before; sharpening was instead done with hand-held stones in various shapes and qualities, mainly imported from Scotland and Scandinavia but sometimes of English millstone or sandstone. Even swordsmithing used this technique until rotary stones were introduced. In England, finds of shears are often accompanied by small, oval or rod-shaped sharpening stones - an example would be Wharram Percy, where several shears and a stone were found together.
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Re: Question re. stone grinding wheel.

Post by The Methley Archer »

Thanks for the help.

Brother Ranulf, just to clarify, there are english sources for the 15th Century of rotary sharpening wheels.

Cheers.
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Re: Question re. stone grinding wheel.

Post by Medicus Matt »

Brother Ranulf wrote:
I believe that it is significant that no English source for grinding wheels earlier than the 14th century is known, despite rotary millstones being known and used for over a thousand years before; sharpening was instead done with hand-held stones in various shapes and qualities
There's a line in the Battle of Brunanburh... "mecum mylen-scearpum". Doesn't that translate as ' with swords mill-sharpened'?
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Re: Question re. stone grinding wheel.

Post by Brother Ranulf »

The problem is that the term "mill" immediately evokes images today of rotary stones, but it didn't necessarily have the same meaning for people speaking Old English:

mylenscearp, adjctive - sharpened on a grindstone.
mylenstán, noun - a grindstone
myl, noun - dust

None of these terms automatically implies that the grindstone is moving; the grindstone is (imho) a simple slab or piece of suitably abrasive stone capable of producing dust which helps the sharpening process. There is also (if I recall correctly) some dispute about when the crank handle needed to power a rotary grindstone was introduced. To add grist to the mill ( :wasntme: ), millstone is the name of a kind of stone (Derbyshire?) which has been used to make simple sharpening-stones as well as rotary grindstones.
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Re: Question re. stone grinding wheel.

Post by Medicus Matt »

Brother Ranulf wrote: There is also (if I recall correctly) some dispute about when the crank handle needed to power a rotary grindstone was introduced. .
Isn't there a Roman one from Switzerland? Iron thing with a couple of pulleys on it, 2nd century?
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Re: Question re. stone grinding wheel.

Post by Brother Ranulf »

Matt, sorry I don't know about the example you quoted. I have read a little about Roman technology and I know they had a lot of amazing stuff - but didn't much of it fall into disuse around the 3rd/4th century? Plumbing and drains, underfloor heating, those strange "push" harvesters, viaducts and military surveying; how much of what we think of as Roman technology continued into Saxon England?
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Re: Question re. stone grinding wheel.

Post by gregory23b »

"mylenscearp, adjctive - sharpened on a grindstone.
mylenstán, noun - a grindstone
myl, noun - "

As in muller, the grinding stone used on a stone to grind pigment, not necessarily a mill but the action itself and the noun of the same.
middle english dictionary

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Re: Question re. stone grinding wheel.

Post by Colin Middleton »

I'm pretty sure that there's a 14thC English manuscript showing guys using a rotary grind-stone. Aren't there cranks on each side, with a man turning each and another raised up above them and sharpening the knife? Is it from the Lutteral Psalter or some other?
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Re: Question re. stone grinding wheel.

Post by Brother Ranulf »

Quite correct, Colin. As I said earlier:
I believe that it is significant that no English source for grinding wheels earlier than the 14th century is known
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Re: Question re. stone grinding wheel.

Post by Høvding »

From experience, a water resevoir is essential to a grindstone of this type, otherwise the stone will wear down quickly, and wont give a fine edge.
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Re: Question re. stone grinding wheel.

Post by Dave B »

Very interesting. I was a child in Cumbria, which is a bit of a language backwater. The expression 'Muller' meaning to beat was in common use as in 'If you don't behave I'll Muller you' or 'I got totaly mullered in the Fox and Hounds last night'.

It's only occured to me now that I don't hear it much outside Cumbria, but I'd guess it's the same etymology.
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Re: Question re. stone grinding wheel.

Post by Type16 »

There is one in the Luttrel Psalter.
One balding guy leaning over a frame sharpening a knife whilst 2 guys turn the handles.

No PPE :D
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Re: Question re. stone grinding wheel.

Post by Dave B »

That'll be 1330ish then?

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Re: Question re. stone grinding wheel.

Post by Colin Middleton »

Type16 wrote:There is one in the Luttrel Psalter.
One balding guy leaning over a frame sharpening a knife whilst 2 guys turn the handles.

No PPE :D
That's the one! :thumbup:
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