View single post by Herb Kephart
 Posted: Sat Aug 29th, 2009 04:09 pm
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Herb Kephart

Joined: Thu Jul 19th, 2007
Location: Glen Mills, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 6070
The mill finally shut down, in 1950, when the last of the Von Nieda's died. I had the opportunity to see a note book that was kept during some of the mills last years. It seemed to a random record of things with entries about amounts paid to non family people  for part time labor, cutting ice off the mill pond, helping saw timber for township bridges, etc. Knowing that one of the Von Niedas had been killed in the 1940's when he got caught in one of the revolving wooden shafts, I went through the book to see if there was any entry concerning the accident-- there was-- "paid to undertaker-50 cents"

The mill fell into disrepair, but all the machinery remained inside. It was bought by Stewart Keen, who contacted a millwright who learned his trade in England, with the idea of rebuilding  it. The millwright, Derek Ogden, had an interest in old British motorcycles, and through this my sons and I met him. He was well into the restoration at this point, but had more mill work than he could handle at the time, so my oldest son, Ken, and sometimes I, would go on weekends and finish things up. Derek asked if we would rebuild the sawmill machinery, the structure that it was in having been finished at that point, and also most of the drive mechanism under the saw mill floor.

Derek had built and installed the large wood pulley/flywheel on the left and built the wooden gear on the right, which Ken helped him install. The waterwheel is on the far right Waterwheels were originally built of wood, but had a limited life due to rot. In the 1880's, the Fitz Waterwheel company of Hanover PA, started making metal wheels, which were a replacement in nearly all the mills in a large area. All three wheels at the Von Nieda mill are Fitz.

Since the waterwheel only goes about 40 RPM, a large increase of speed is needed.

The smaller gear is cast iron, but the shaft it is on is wood. It is centered and locked to the shaft with wood wedges.

Here the wheel has just had its buckets painted- hence the plastic tarp- it looked like rain. We had just installed the (also just painted) the device that controls the amount of water that falls on the wheel. The tank above the wheel is called the forebay.

Last edited on Sun Oct 31st, 2010 04:05 pm by Herb Kephart

Fix it again, Mr Gates--it still works!"
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