Dresser

 

JJ Armfield Flour Dresser

A flour dresser is used to sieve the bran from the wholewheat flour to produce white flour. Little is known about the dresser at Burton Mill other than it was installed in its present position in 1979. It took freshly milled flour directly from the stones, which is not an ideal way of working as the milled flour may be too warm for satisfactory separation. Since the new millstone configuration does not allow a direct path for the flour to pass to the dresser, after restoration the dresser will be resited and driven directly from the main line shaft.

This view shows the drive from beneath the mill stones. The metal cage would have been covered by a cloth sieve but this has since rotted away.

Restoration begins! The photo below shows the inner workings. The main (top) spindle rotates at around 750rpm (too fast?) turning the helical blades which blow the wholewheat flour against the sieve cloth wrapped around the outer drum cage. A belt would connect the two pulley wheels. The lower pulley wheel drives a chain connected to the outer cage to cause it to rotate at around 70rpm. As the drum rotates it passes under a set of brushes which are attached to the length of wood at the top of the drum. The sieved flour drops to the chutes below - white flour from the left chute and 'brown' flour from the right. The bran stays within the drum and eventually drops into a chute at the far end.

The chain drive had seized and after removing part of the white flour chute the reason was clear... Mice, with a particular liking for party poppers had been nesting here for many years. Their debris had rotted quite a few links of the chain and jammed the lower bearing.

Further dismantling will only be possible once the outer drum is taken apart. This is going to be difficult as the 24 bolts are heavily corroded. It is hoped that most of the (very rotten) woodwork can be reused - given sufficient wood harderner and filler.

A view of the chain and drum gear. The eyelets in the piece of material clamped to the drum show that the sieve could have been laced onto the drum. Note the Archimedes screw in the centre which collects and removes the bran. 

Finally, the fan is separated from the drum. These and all the other internal metal parts will be blast cleaned and epoxy painted.