Sawmill / Windmill













 Built on site in the 1990's,  the sawmill was a common feature of the 19th century landscape.  Several of these sawmills were in use in the Pembina Valley. 

The sawmill is where logs are sawed into boards.  Early sawmills were simple structures:  water-powered and cheaply built, usually with a single reciprocating blade and a hand-operated ratchet carriage to feed logs into the blade.

They were used for cutting local logs for local consumption.  Sawing was slow:  a day's work might produce 500 boards.  The Pembina Threshermen's Museum (PTM) sawmill is capable of sawing logs into boards of various dimensions and the logs for the museum's NWMP Outpost were cut on the grounds using the sawmill. 

Built alongside or in conjunction with a gristmill and near a Blacksmith Shop, such mills might be the focus of a rising village, though work was seasonal and often part-time. 

Volunteers permitting, a demonstration can be seen during both the PTM's Heritage Day and Reunion Days events each year.




The windmill is a machine which uses the energy of the wind to produce power, as for pumping, grinding grain or for operating mills.  Used extensively for pumping water for livestock on farms, a mill has a wheel of blades set at a common angle and mounted on a horizontal shaft. 

The wheel is held with its face toward the wind by a vane or rudder.  The wind strikes the blades of the windmill at an angle and forces the wheel to revolve.  The mill gets the full force of the wind by being mounted on a tower 20 or more feet high, above surrounding obstructions.  Power cannot be obtained by means of a windmill unless there is a reasonable movement of air.  On many farms an automatic mechanism was placed in a water tank, which served to stop the mill when the tank was pumped full of water.   

Wind energy is one of the oldest forms of energy used to supplement human muscle, with the advantage being no fuel cost but the disadvantage being unpredictable wind condtions.


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