The Millstone Industry

A Summary of Research on Quarries and Producers in the United States, Europe and Elsewhere


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SKU: 9780786438600 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

Since prehistoric times, the process of cutting rock to make millstones has been one of the most important industries in the world. The first part of this book compiles information on the millstone industry in the United States, which dates between the mid–1600s and the mid–1900s. Primarily based on archival research and brief accounts published in geological and historical volumes, it focuses on conglomerate, granite, flint, quartzite, gneiss, and sandstone quarries in different regions and states. The second part focuses on the millstone quarrying industry in Europe and other areas.

About the Author(s)

Charles D. Hockensmith worked as a staff archaeologist with the Kentucky Heritage Council for 27 years before retiring in July 2008. He has published extensively on several historic industries with special emphasis on millstone quarries, bricks manufacturing, and lime kilns.

Bibliographic Details

Charles D. Hockensmith
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 283
Bibliographic Info: 84 photos, 16 tables, glossary, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3860-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5380-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Foreword by Alain Belmont      1

Preface      3

Introduction      5

1. Early American Millstone Documents, 1628–1829      9

2. Millstone Quarrying in the United States      19

Conglomerate Quarries

Granite Quarries

Flint and Buhrstone Quarries

Quartzite Quarries

Gneiss Quarries

Sandstone Quarries

Dolomite Quarries •

Sienite Quarries

Unspecified Materials

Boulders Used for Millstones

3. Millstone Makers and Urban Factories      88

4. The Rise and Fall of the American Millstone Industry: Producers, Annual Values, and Decline      100

Millstone Producers

Millstone Values

Millstone Industry Decline

5. Foreign Millstones Imported to America      119




All Millstones Imported into the United States

6. The Millstone Quarrying Industry

Outside the United States      124




Czech Republic



Great Britain











Studies on Millstones and Querns of Ancient Rome

Miscellaneous Millstone Quarries and Studies

7. Artificial Millstones      199

8. Tools Used in Making and Sharpening Millstones      202

Tools Used by Millstone Cutters

Tools Used to Sharpen Millstones

9. Working Conditions and Hazards in the Millstone Industry      207

Tool Related Injuries


Other Injuries

Conclusion      212

Glossary      215

Bibliography      219

Index      255

Book Reviews & Awards

“fascinating and well worth the read”—Old Mill News; “Hockensmith has done a great service to those who study millstones and quarrying…an important case study…a grand survey…indispensable”—Historical Archaeology.