Buhrstones: Grain Grinders of Pioneer Mills (HI-02)
Itinerant workers hand-chiseled buhrstones for pioneer gristmills from locally obtainable silceous rocks. In northern Indiana, some stones were fashioned from glacial boulders. "Sand Creek Buhrstones" from Jennings County, advertised as early as 181, were used in Indiana mills as far away as Vincennes. Later, millstones were imported from Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and France.

The buhrs ranged from 2.5 to 7 feet in diameter and from about 4 to 12 inches in thickness. Placed one above the other, the lower (netherstone) was stationary; the upper (capstone) was balanced above and revolved over the netherstone. Roughened and grooved opposing surfaces ground the grain. Periodically, these surfaces were sharpened by skilled artisans, who used tempered steel picks.

After more efficient steel-roller grinders were adopted in the 1870's, the colorful era of buhrstone water mills quickly came to a close.

Our Hoosier State Beneath Us: Historical


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