of my favorite articles are shown in Slide
1: my spouse, Nedra, and a Goldens' 4xx (New Model), which
I purchased from the late Mr. John Cone (Mt. Pleasant, FL). This mill
was used on a farm near Chattahoochee (FL) until about 1983.
Nedra was not very enthusiastic about my discussing her specifications,
but the 4xx was silent on this point. So, . . . . The
Goldens' 4xx was the largest vertical 3-roller animal-powered
mill that Goldens' initially made for domestic sales after the
introduction of the New Models in 1905 (as inferred from Catalog
38, ~1916). This is the only one that I have seen, so I
surmise that they must be rare, at least in this area. I am
only aware of three others, which are owned by Tommy
Clayton, John Catoe, and Bobby McDaniel.. Soon after the introduction of the New Models, Goldens'
made 4 standard 3-roller animal-powered mills (Nos. 1, 2, 3,
4) for domestic sales. In addition, they made an x-series by lengthening
the rollers. At least on the No. 2 and No. 2x, the top plates,
except for the relief lettering, were identical in size and
mass. The same appeared to be true of other parts, too, except
for the components involved in lengthening the rollers (feed
box, panels, scrapers, guide knife, frame bolts). They also
made an xx series (Nos. 2xx, 3xx, 4xx), like this one, in which
the top and bottom plates were reinforced (note that the bottom
plate has four hold-down bolts, instead of the ordinary three).
Other components of the mill were also made for heavy-duty usage,
such as brass bearings for the journal (which was oversized)
of the king roller, brass linings for the small rollers, and
positive attachment of the gear to the king rollers, instead
of the simpler interlocking "clutch" mechanisms of
the other animal-powered mills. Overall, this mill was rated
at 150 gallons per hour and weighed 1385 pounds. These specifications
were similar to the smallest horizontal power mill--the No. 27
was rated at 125-175 gallons per hour and weighed 1650 pounds.
A portion of the mass of the No. 27 is for gears and pulley,
and indeed the rollers are larger on the No. 4xx (as they must
be for the same juice output, since the animal mills rotated
more slowly). Sometime before1928 (Catalog 52, identical to
53), Goldens' discontinued the x- and xx-series, but made
another heavy series
(Nos. 22, 33, 44, 55, which weighed 1950 pounds) for domestic
sales. I have never seen any of
the latter, but one No. 44x is shown on Snapshots. (This mill has been expertly restored by Anthony and Jerry Brinson.)
purchased this Woodruff mill (Slide
2) from Mr. Robert Gay of the Boneville Historical
District (near Augusta, Georgia), but I have
subsequently traded it to Tommy Clayton. Through enormous effort and persistance, Don Dean discovered that a Woodruff Foundry in Winder, GA, made cane mills (among other items, such as this ornamental building column I found in Walhalla, South Carolina). I'll leave it to the reader to get the full account from Don's book.
I "rescued" these
3) from the farm of the late Clifton and Flora Nix,
longtime and respected farmers in
eastern Berrien County, Georgia. (Thanks to their
grandson and my attorney,
Daniel L. Studstill). The larger rollers are
15 inches in diameter. The one with the journal
for the lever cap weighs
245 pounds and the other, 215 pounds. The
small rollers are 11 inches in diameter. The
one with the journal for the lever caps
weighs 140 pounds and the other, 120 pounds.
Goldens' Foundry and Machine
Company made a bewildering array of small vertical and horizontal,
two and three roller, horse and engine powered mills as one
notes from perusing their catalog. However, this two-roller
mill, the Goldens' No. 16 (New Model) (Slide
4), is the largest standard two-roller Goldens' mill that I have seen,
though it is eclipsed by many of Goldens' export and long-roller
mills. (Indeed, Goldens' promoted their three-roller mills, particularly
in a horizontal configuration.) This mill requires two horses,
has a juice output of 100 gallons per hour, and weighs 1160
pounds (the limit for a boom pole on my little 640 Ford tractor!).
It appears that part of Goldens' capacity to produce so many
different types of mills came from use of interchangeable parts.
Thus, the king roller and associated bearings, the staves, and
the lever cap appear to be interchangeable with the three roller
Golden No. 4, and the same relationship seems to hold for the
two-roller Golden No. 14 and Golden No. 3, and the two roller
Golden No. 12 and the Golden No. 2. I have not had these parts
laid out side by side, but make these inferences from catalogs.
(I have, however, demonstrated to my satisfaction the interchangeability
of parts of other Goldens' mills, which is addressed elsewhere.) (This mill has been expertly restored by Anthony and Jerry Brinson.)
This Southern Plow No. 5
(Slide 5) originated
near Enigma (Georgia) and was motorized by Merrice
Hines (Tifton/Brooksfield, Georgia). It then traveled over
to Norman Park (Georgia) and subsequently found a temporary
home in Covington (Georgia) in a sorghum operation. I obtained
Hilliard (Florida), but later sold it to Charles
Baldree (Omega, Georgia), who immediately sold it. The 8-hp
Wisconsin motor similarly has an illustrious personal history;
Merrice salvaged it off a garden tiller to use for this application.
This 700-pound mill has 10-inch
rollers and an advertised juice output of 120 gallons per hour, a value
that is consistent with that of the Goldens' No. 27, a horizontal
power mill with 12-inch rollers and an advertised juice output
of 125-175 gallons per hour. Tommy Clayton pointed out that the Spotless Jumbo mill is identical to the Southern Plow No. 5. The Spotless Company (Richmond,
Virginia) had their mills produced in an unspecified southern
Ohio factory and advertised its capacity as 4-6 tons of cane per 12 hours. At 70% extraction,
this capacity would be only about 65 gallons per hour. (Thanks to
Don Dean for the advertisement for the Spotless Jumbo and Tommy Clayton for other information.)
The first mill (Slide
6) that I purchased was a Goldens' No. 2 (New Model). This
particular mill is in excellent condition, especially considering
its manufacture before 1924 (on the basis of guide-knife design).
The paint matches the description of the original
paint. I paid much more than No. 2s go for, but the condition
and the emotional attachment have kept me from regretting the
(The emotional attachment is linked to its being the kind
of mill that I remember around syrup making.) Like most
fans, however, I can find reasons to support my devotion. I
really do think the No. 2 is an excellent small mill; certainly,
the farmers in this area felt so, since it is so common. Although
I have seen more No. 2s than any other kind of mill, I have
never seen one with a broken roller, broken gears, separated
journal, or broken base or top plates. I have certainly seen
problems with other brands of mills and even models of Goldens'
(especially the x-series, which use shows are not strong enough for the extended rollers.) I chose to restore for my own use a Goldens'
No. 2 (New Model), though one not in this excellent condition.
Kentucky Bluegrass No. 4 (Louisville, KY) is a large three-roller
weighing 1200 pounds (thanks to Don Dean for this information).
This one was missing the journal lever cap, the feed box, the guide knife and the
scrapers, but replacements for these items can be fabricated.
One journal lid and one of the external-oiler lids is present,
so duplicates for the missing ones can be cast. Note the whole-box
design for the king-roller journal. This mill was located partially
buried in the edge of the woods in Gadsden County (Florida), and I bought it as part of a package deal and to "save it." My main interest is in mills made in Georgia, particularly Goldens' mills, so I sold this mill to Michael Strickland (Montgomery, AL). With such long rollers, this mill should have a prodigious capacity when mechanized, as is planned by Michael.
The Goldens' No. 1 (New
Model, Slide 8) is the smallest of the Goldens' mills, weighing
only 375 pounds and having 5-inch-long rollers. Ken Womble
suggested it might look nice on a charm bracelet! In the Goldens'
1-4 series, the roller length and small-roller diameter increase
by 1 inch, whereas the king roller-diameter increases by 2 inches.
As expected, the mass increases in this series more than linearly
with roller length (because the top and bottom increase as a
square function related to roller diameter); thus, the ratios,
overall- mass/roller-length, are 75, 95, 110, and137 pounds/inch,
respectively. The mill on the left originated in Jefferson
County (Florida) and I purchased the mill on the right from
Wakulla County (Florida). The king journal of the mill on the
right is about 1.25 inches taller than the one on the left.
As a complementary observation, Tommy Clayton has noted different
journal lengths in Chattanooga No. 12s. I have and will keep one of these mills; the other was sold to Joe Feagle of Keystone Heights (Florida). (The four-hour barbeque
job--note smoke at left--gave me plenty of time to photograph.)
stated in several places before, Goldens' mills are the most
common extant mills in this area. The second most common vertical
mills were made by Chattanooga or Columbus/Southern Plow, perhaps
some more of the latter. Interestingly, however, there is only
a smattering of Chattanooga power mills, but relatively
abundant Columbus power mills. This Chattanooga No. 72 (Slide
9), patent date of 1897, was found in Gadsden County (Florida),
but it appears to have changed hands before landing there, and
was part of the property during a real-estate transfer, so I
do not know its provenance. Based on a 12 x 12 inch king roller,
as is the Chattanooga No. 92, it weighs 2100 and was advertised
to produce 1500-2000 gallons of juice a day. The No. 92 is double-geared,
weighs 2750 pounds, and produces 2000-2500 gallons of juice
a day; only the No. 92 was offered in a late catalog that I
had access to. This mill was sold to Charles Baldree (Omega, GA), who restored it for a 35-acre cane operation near Albany, GA.
Parts of a disassembled
Goldens' No. 2 (old style) are propped on an assembled mill of
the same type (Slide
10). There were several small foundries in Columbus as early
as the 1840s. Indeed, one was the Columbus Iron Foundry
and unofficially the Columbus Iron Works was set up in 1848
as a working combination of several foundries, including (G.P.)
Golden's Machine Shop. The Columbus Iron Works was officially
organized in 1853 and shortly after the war, G.P Golden was
a major figure in the organization. G.P.'sons, J.P. and T.E.,
started their business, along with a partner, in 1882 and incorporated
Foundry and Machine Company in 1889. By 1884, the Golden
Brothers were making animal and steam-powered cane mills, evaporators
and shallow-patterned syrup kettles. As far as I am aware, there
are no extant catalogs of Golden mills prior to the introduction
of the New Models (1905), and there are very few of the old-style
mills ("The Golden Mill"). I have never seen one of their earlier
horizontal power mills; Don
Dean owns two of the old-style 2-roller mills and Tommy
Clayton owns a No. 1 and a No. 4 old-style mill. In a separate
photo-essay, I will compare the No. 2 (old style) and the No.
2 (New Model), a superior mill in my opinion. The disassembled
mill was a generous gift of Charles
Deese (Wellborn, Florida) and the assembled mill originated
near Tampa (Florida), but I bought it from southeast of Orlando
(Florida). (Thanks to Dennis Parker, who provided a copy of
The First Hundred Years 1882-1982, a History of Goldens'
Foundry & Machine Company by J.P. Golden II, from which
some of this material was taken.)
The Goldens' No 12 (Slide 11) is the smallest of the enclosed-framed 2-roller New Model mills produced by the foundry after 1905. As mentioned on the narrative for Slide 1, some parts of this mill are interchangeable with the Goldens' No. 2. With a mass just slightly larger than the No. 2, Golden's rated it as a heavy 1-horse mill with a juice output of 45 gallons per hour, the same as the No. 2.
This massive mill (Slide 12) was made by Rourke Iron Works in Savannah, Georgia. John Rourke and Son had a thriving business as judged from their factory image on an 1893 letterhead. The company made cane mills, pans, and boilers and were dealers for items that they did not make. The rollers of this mill are 18 inches in diameter and 14 inches tall. I could not determine the weight, but my 300-lb fish scale bottomed out before lifting the short-journal roller off the ground. I obtained this mill through Charles Taylor (North Carolina) but picked it up from Baxley (Georgia). As I am told, it was part of a syrup operation near Macon (Georgia). Interestingly, the bearings had rotted out, presumably being wood replacements for the originals.
Morven Foundry and Machine Co. (Morven, Georgia) produced cane mills for a few years around the turn of the twentieth century. These mills (Slide 13) are essentially the same as those produced by several other Georgia foundries. They are also similar to other mills made elsewhere with slight modifications (e.g., in roller-adjustment mechanism). Although there were foundries in Valdosta (Georgia) that produced cane mills, Morven is a touch closer to my hometown of Nashville (Georgia), and these mills therefore take on special meaning to me. Their antiquity and relative scarcity adds further to that meaning, so when I had an opportunity to buy a second mill, I jumped at it. Between these two mills, I plan to assemble a completely original mill, down to the last nut.
I am progressing well into my second childhood, else I would not relate the following story out of concern that a reader would discount it or, worse, mistakenly infer that I had lost my devotion to the truth. But, in one's second childhood, scant attention is paid to such matters. I will, at least, make it a short story (so it cannot be thought a big lie). I received a note from Ken Christison on Friday, January 28, 2005, that began "Since I am sure you haven't seen a cane mill you didn't like, and I know
you are interested in mills made in GA, I am passing on this info to
you." Peggie Barrentine (Enigma, Georgia; half of Enigma, other half) had found Ken's syrupmakers website and contacted him a week earlier in an effort to give away a cane mill! Owing to the distance, Ken was unable to get it himself, so I came to his mind. I contacted her immediately and found a clearing in the rain on Saturday and the mill was in my backyard later that day. The mill came Peggie's way through inheritance from her parents (Ralph J. and Lillian Sumner), who had bought the property on which the mill sat from Wyche Allen in 1957. Berrien-County farmer John D. Allen (1867-) and his wife Isadora (1873-) were the parents of Wyche D. Allen (b. 1896). In turn, Wyche was the grandfather of my classmate, Harold Allen, Jr., whose FFA steers always took top honors, thus outclassing mine and all others. Peggie--whom I had not seen in 40+ years--was also of my age, and incredibly, her husband, Bentley, grew up in part in the very same house that my family lived in in Enigma when my father was principal there. The mill was located within a couple of miles of that house and it is quite possible that I went to a cane grinding there (Daddy was a people person and we never missed a cane grinding, a fish fry, a church dinner and if there was ever a crowd of two or more people in Berrien County, you could count on Daddy being one, whether at the post office, a store . . . .) What a small world! The mill was a frameless McDonough-Ballantyne (Slide 14). As indicated elsewhere (Snapshot 78), how syrupmakers put these mills into custom wooden frames is of interest, so I refer you to different views of the feed side (1, 2), of the discharge side, of the upper box (other end), the lower box, and a close-up of one of the mortise and tenon joints. As good as this luck was, it didn't stop: I was building on Daddy's habit of stopping with folks and saw Ronnie Gaskins and Larry Watson, my cousin, who was feeding his horse. Since I will carry on about Ronnie elsewhere, I will cut to the chase and simply allow that that conversation ended with my being given a second mill like this one. Naturally, questions about the history of the company came to mind and I am grateful to have found a very conscientious librarian, from whose notes I extract. Neither a likely McDonough nor Ballantyne was found in Savannah (the site of the foundry) before the War. However, a John McDonough was found as a lumber merchant in the 1867 city directory. The 1870 census listed a John McDonough as a wealthy 49-year-old Irishman, who was a manufacturer. He had five children, all born in Georgia, with the oldest being 23. One son, John, was listed as a lumber merchant, and it may be he, albeit at a tender age, or his father in the 1867 city directory. McDonough and Ballantyne Iron and Brass Foundry and Machine Shop had a prominent advertisement in the 1870 city directory, which noted that the business had moved to a second location, clearly indicating that the foundry was established well before 1870, and possibly predating Kehoe, S.W. Gleason, and Rourke foundries (see a Savannah promotional ). This directory included the first listing of a Thomas Ballantyne, a moulder and engineer who was born in 1835 in Scotland. In 1871, again McDonough and Ballantyne had an advertisement and elsewhere in this directory, John McDonough was given a large write up, which showed him with three businesses (the foundry, as mentioned;
John McDonough & Sons (planing mills; "sons" =
John J. and Henry A.); and one unspecified). At some time, McDonough moved to Auburndale, Florida, and when he died in 1884, his body was brought back for burial in Catholic Cemetery. In 1891, his son John J. was listed as one of the co-owners of the business. Ballantyne, who apparently did not marry, died in Florida in 1903 and his body too was returned to Savannah and interred in
Laurel Grove Cemetery. McDonough and Ballantyne was not listed in the city directory after 1903. (Of course, I am much obliged to Peggie Barrentine and Ronnie Gaskins for the kind gifts of the mills. Very special thanks to Sharen Lee (Live Oak Public Libraries, Savannah, Georgia) for her searching in depth in response to my several requests. As is often the case, Ken Christison provided essential assistance, which I continue to appreciate.)