The Prairie Mills
Golden, Illinois

Outside Winder

This photo shows the "outside winder" system of the Prairie Mill.

Winders are used to turn the sails into the wind.  "Inside winders" have the entire mechanism ins the mill.  "Outside winders" have the mechanism outside the mill.

To turn the cap and sails, the miller first hooks the "anchor chain" to the "stage."  Turning the "capstan wheel" pulls on the winding chain.  This turns the cap and sails through the tail assembly, which consists of the tail pole, four braces, and two "sprouts" built into the cap.

The winding chain may require repositioning several times to adjust for large changes in wind direction.

Although the cap and sails, weigh over 20 tons, it is possible for one person to turn the cap with the winder.

Also visible in this photo is the brake pole and chain, used to operate the "Flemish Brake" in the cap.

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