This section is from "Scientific American Supplement Volumes 275, 286, 288, 299, 303, 312, 315, 324, 344 and 358". Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.
The portions of the material which have not been traced either to the baker's flour or the bran and shorts bins are the middlings which have gone to the middlings stones, the germy middlings which have gone to the first germ rolls, and the tailings from purifiers Nos. 3, 4, 5, and 6, and some little stuff not quite poor enough for shorts from the reel following the second germ rolls. Taking these seriatim: the middlings after passing through the middlings stones, go to the first patent reel covered with eleven feet of No. 13 and four feet of No. 8. The flour from the head of the reel goes to the patent packer, that from the remainder of the reel is dropped to another reel, while the tailings go to the No. 4 purifier. The lower patent reel is clothed with No. 14 and two feet of No. 10 cloth; from the head of the reel the flour goes to the patent packer, the remainder that passes through the No. 10 cloth which will not do to go into the patent, being returned to the middlings stones, while the tailings are sent to the No. 4 purifier.
The germ middlings, after being slightly crushed as before stated, are sent to a reel covered with five feet of No. 13 cloth, five feet of No. 14, and the balance with cloth varying in coarseness from No. 7 to No. 00. The flour from this reel goes into the patent, the tailings to the red dog rolls, the middlings from next the tail of the reel which still contain some germ to the second germ rolls, while the middlings which are free from germ go to the middlings stones.
The tailings from purifiers 3, 4, 5, and 6, the material from the reel following the second germ rolls, which is too good for shorts, but not good enough to be returned into middlings again, and the tailings from the reel following the first germ rolls are sent to the red dog rolls, which, as I have stated, are finely corrugated. Following these rolls is the red dog reel. The flour goes to the red dog bin, the tailings to the shorts bin, while some stuff intermediate between the two, not fine enough for the flour but too good for shorts, is returned to the red dog rolls.
This finishes the programme. I have not given it as one which is exactly suited to winter wheat milling. However, as I said before, the general principles are the same in either winter or wheat gradual reduction mills, and the various systems of gradual reduction, although they differ in many points, and although there are probably no two engineers who would agree as to all the details of a programme, the main ideas are essentially the same. The system has been well described as one of gradual and continued purification. In the programme above given the idea was to fit up a mill which should do a maximum amount of work of good quality with a minimum amount of expenditure and machinery. In a larger mill or even in a mill of the same capacity where money was not an object, the various separations would probably be handled a little differently, the flour and middlings from the first and fifth breaks being handled together, and those from the second, third, and fourth breaks being also handled together. The reason for this separation being that the flour from the first and fifth breaks contain, the first a great deal of crease dirt, and the fifth more bran dust than that from the other breaks, the result being a lower grade of flour. The object all along being to keep the amount of flour with which dirt can get mixed as small as possible, and not to lower the grade of any part of the product by mixing it with that which is inferior, always bearing in mind that the aim is to make as many middlings as possible, for they can be purified while the flour can not, and that whenever any dirt is once eliminated it should be kept out afterwards. This leads me to say that if a miller thinks the adoption of rolls or reduction machines is all there is of the system, he is very much mistaken. If anything, more of the success of the mill depends upon the careful handling of the stuff after the breaks are made, and here the miller who is in earnest to master the gradual reduction system will find his greatest opportunities for study and improvement. A few years back it was an axiom of the trade that the condition of the millstone was the key to successful milling. This was true because the subsequent process of bolting was comparatively simple. Now the mere making of the breaks is a small matter compared with the complex separations which come after. In the foregoing programme we had five breaks or successive reductions. Although this is better than a smaller number, I will here say that it is not absolutely essential, for very good work is done with four breaks. The mill for which this programme was made, including the building, cost about $15,000, and is designed to make about sixty per cent. of patent, thirty-five per cent. of baker's, and five per cent. of low grade, results which are in advance of many larger and more pretentious mills.
One difficulty in the way of adapting the gradual reduction system to mills of very small capacity is that the various machines require to be loaded to a certain degree in order to work at their best. It is only a matter of short time when our milling inventors will design machinery especially for small mills; in fact they are now doing it, and every day brings it more within the power of the small miller to improve his manner of milling. To show what can be done in this direction I will briefly describe a mill of about ninety barrels maximum capacity per twenty-four hours, which is as small as can be profitably worked. I will premise this description by saying it is designed with a view to the greatest economy of cost, the best trade of work, and to reduce the amount of machinery and the handling of the stuff as much as possible. This latter point is of much importance in any mill, either large or small, no matter upon what system it is operated, for it takes power to run elevators and conveyors, and especially in elevating and conveying middlings, especially those made from winter wheat, their quality is inured and a loss incurred, by the unavoidable amount of flour made by the friction of the particles against each other. So much is this the case that in one of our largest mills it is deemed preferable to move the middlings from one end of the mill to the other by means of a hopper bin on a car which runs on a track spiked to the floor, rather than to employ a conveyor. A mill built as I am going to describe would require from fifty to sixty horse-power to run it, and including steam power and building would cost from $10,000 to $12,000, according to location. I give it as of interest to those among your number who own small mills and may contemplate improving them.