milling

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
Save to active project

milling

milling, mechanical grinding of wheat or other grains to produce flour. Milling separates the fine, mealy parts of grain from the fibrous bran covering. In prehistoric times grain was crushed between two flat stones. Later a stone with a rounded end was used to grind grain in a cup-shaped stone; this led to the development of the mortar and pestle. The more advanced peoples began to use the quern, a primitive mill in which the grain is placed on a flat, circular lower millstone and ground by revolving a similar upper millstone to which a handle is attached. Such a device, operated at first by hand, was adapted to the use of animal, water, or wind power. The Greeks probably used water power c.450 BC; the Romans used gears to connect several sets of millstones with one waterwheel. Windmills are said to have become widespread in Europe following the Crusades and were probably introduced from Asia Minor. The Industrial Revolution initiated the use of steam power and of transportation facilities that resulted in the rise of large-scale milling centers. Machinery was improved, with metal replacing wood and steel rollers replacing millstones. The invention of the middlings purifier, by which, after preliminary grinding, the flour is separated from bran particles by strong air currents, improved the quality of flour prepared from hard spring wheat and, in the United States, led to the development of great milling centers in the spring-wheat areas of Minnesota (notably Minneapolis), the Dakotas, and Montana. In Europe modern rolling methods were developed during the 19th cent. in Hungary, and Budapest became one of the chief milling centers. In modern processing, grain is usually blended, cleaned, scrubbed to remove wheat hairs, tempered by heat and moisture (to prevent brittleness in the bran and consequent pulverization resulting in speckled flour), passed through sets of steel rolls with successively finer corrugations, and sifted after each grinding. It is then blown in a middlings purifier, ground between sets of smooth rolls, and bolted through a very fine mesh sieve. The entire, highly automated process takes about an hour and comprises some 180 operations. The term milling is applied also to the processing of other materials, e.g., soap, textiles, and metals; processing establishments are often called mills, e.g., lumber mill or sawmill, cotton mill, and sugar mill.

See M. and M. Zimilies, Early American Mills (1973).

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

milling
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?