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The Upper Mill Jigsaw Puzzle©, the first Photo ColorOn-Graphics® is an excellent example of how STEM is embedded in social studies content material. It was adapted from Water at Work at The Upper Mill Guide (1997), part of the Delaware Valley School District’s local history initiative, which was funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission with additional funds from the Upper Mill, Milford, Pennsylvania. The Water at Work at The Upper Mill Guide was authored by Mikki Weiss, Project Coordinator and Educational Consultant. James Purcell, Principal, Dingman/Delaware Middle School, was Project Manager. Darcy Hartman provided the background resource material. Robert Longcore (1931 - 2013) provided the historical perspective of the mills of Milford, Pennsylvania. It was illustrated by Bea Dannenfelser. James Levell did layout and design. Fay P. Lukin, educator, was editor.

 

THE UPPER MILL, Milford, Pennsylvania:  PANEL 1.

  • Milford, Pennsylvania was known as a milling center early in its history.

  • The Jervis Gordon Grist Mill was one of the nine working mills during the 1800s.

  • This mill site has retained much of its character and integrity over its 150-year lifespan.

  • Water from the millpond on the Vantine Brook flows through the upper raceway into the forebay (Panel 2).

 

THE UPPER MILL, Milford, Pennsylvania:  PANEL 2

  • The Jervis Gordon Grist Mill Historic District, “the Upper Mill,” represents a mid-19th century to mid-20th century hydro-powered in industrial system.

  • In 1882, water in the forebay goes through a three-foot pipe (flume) under the road to a turbine in the mill.

 

THE UPPER MILL, Milford, Pennsylvania:  PANEL 3 

 

  • In 1922, the turbine was replaced with the Fitz Steel Overshoot Water Wheel.

  • Water flows from the forebay through a flume under the road. It then goes to the “header” tank at the top of the wheel (Panel 4).

  • Water in the forebay is at the same level as water in the header tank.

 

THE UPPER MILL, Milford, Pennsylvania:  PANEL 4

  • Opening the “gate” at the bottom of the header tank allows water to flow through the “launder” onto the wheel.

  • As water is released from the header tank more water flows through the pipe to maintain the same level in the forebay.

  • The flow of water is caused by gravity. (There is no pump).

 

THE UPPER MILL, Milford, Pennsylvania:  PANEL 5

           

  • The water wheel is 24 feet in diameter having 72 buckets each measuring four feet in width.

  • Fifteen gallons of water can be contained in each of the 36 descending buckets.

  • The weight of the water (two tons) falling generates approximately 40 horsepower at 5 rpm (revolutions per minute). This is due to the force of gravity.

  • The large “bull gear” turns at the same speed as the wheel, but the small “pinion gear” turns four times faster (20 rpm).

  • The “master pulley” turns at the same speed as the pinion gear (20 rpm).

  • The master pulley, built by Chance Rowe, is 20-feet in diameter.

 

THE UPPER MILL, Milford, Pennsylvania:  PANEL 6

  • The spindle that passes through the bed stone is turned by a belt and pulley of the vertical shaft (Panel 7) on the lower level.

  • The upper “runner” stone is fractions of an inch above the bed stone. It is balanced and turned by the “driver” at the top of the “spindle.

  • The lower “bed”/“nether” stone does not move.

  • The grain is ground into meal between two millstones.

 

THE UPPER MILL, Milford, Pennsylvania:  PANEL 7 

     

  • The smaller “line shaft” pulley moves five times faster than the master pulley. Therefore, its speed has been increased to 100 rpm.

  • When the clutch on the line shaft is engaged, the pulley belt going down to the horizontal shaft below the floor drives the vertical shaft by a “bevel gear.

  • The horizontal belt (not noted in the diagram) on the pulley of the vertical shift drives the millstones.

  • NOTE: Panel 7 shows transition from hydropower to the Fitz Steel Overshoot Water Wheel.

 

THE UPPER MILL, Milford, Pennsylvania:  PANEL 8

     

  • The line shaft ran throughout the building carrying power to the floors above by the gear, pulley and belting system.

  • 1882 - 1922: The mill operated on hydropower (turbine).

  • To operate the machinery more effectively and efficiently, the Rowe Brothers installed the Fitz Steel Overshoot Water Wheel in 1922. This made it possible to increase the speed of the water wheel.

  • Having the clutch on the line shaft enabled both grist milling and machining to be alternately used.

  • 1955: Devastating flood impacted on milling operations. The late 1950s saw the end to milling at The Upper Mill.

 

A BRIEF CHRONOLOGY OF THE UPPER MILL

 

  • 1837: John Barton ran the original mill on this site.

  • 1837 - 1868: The mill was owned in half shares by a variety of owners.

  • 1868: Jervis Gordon bought the mill in partnership with William Detrick.

  • 1874: William Detrick sold his share to Jervis Gordon.

  • 1880: The mill was well adapted to meet local needs. By 1880, the Upper Mill was annually producing over 500,000 lbs. of animal feed, 180,000 lbs. of corn meal, 60,000 lbs. of buckwheat flour (a specialty of the area), 120 barrels of wheat flour, and 150 barrels of rye flour. These products had a market value, in 1880, of $19,760 and were all grown in the rich farmland along the Delaware River. This mill was in operation for the entire year, unlike some mills that ran only part of the year either for lack of water or because of ice. The average workday was 12 hours and skilled workers were paid about $2 per day.

  • 1881: Fire destroyed the mill.

  • 1882 - 1899: Jervis Gordon rebuilt the mill installing a new turbine to replace the wooden water wheel. He was a lifetime millwright and adapted the milling techniques to keep up with the changing times. Milling of buckwheat was a thriving business.

  • 1899 - 1904: The mill had two different owners.

  • 1904 - 1950: The mill was bought by the Rowe Brothers, John Rowe and Alanson “Chance” Rowe. They built an addition for the manufacturing of wooden souvenirs. In 1922, they replaced the turbine with the Fitz Steel Overshoot Water Wheel.

  • 1950: The mill was sold to Clyde Rowe, cousin to the Rowe brothers.

  • 1955: Devastating flood damaged the waterways impacting on the milling operations. The late 1950s saw the end to milling at the Upper Mill.

  • Circa 1950 - 1984: The mill became a hardware store. In 1968, Chandler Saint had an antique shop and clothing boutique. In 1979, Chandler Saint sought to adapt the water wheel to generate electricity.

  • 1984 - Present: The Water Wheel Group bought the mill, restored the parts of the milling system for educational activities. It became known as the Jervis Gordon Grist Mill Historic District and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. The Jervis Gordon Grist Mill Historic District is commonly known as “The Upper Mill.

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