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BRUCE'S ROY AL FLOURING MILLS.

Sixteen raonthi ago tho most n'ensive manufacturing industry m South Canterbury m the bnnds of ono person or firm, was the milling busioess carried on at Air Bruee's Waitangi Mills, and universal regret win felt whon, on tho 21«t May, 1881, the fine brick building, with all the milling machinery, and produce valued at £21,000, was destroyed by firo, involving a Tery heavy lobb, at the insurances woro very »mall indeed. No one dreiraed that m the few months that have chpied since that disaster, a far larger building would te erected, and fitted with a milling plant of a character beyond comparison with the former one. We arc con stantly hearing and reading of the wonderful energy and enterprise of the Americans 5 the •xistenco of the Royal Flouring Mills shows that we have at least ono townsman who is possessed of as bold a spirit of enterprise, and of as indomitablo an energy as can be claimed for the Americans. At the time of the fire Mr Bruce had some improved machinery on tho way from America, and he saw that betides losing his mill, he must also lose this unleie he re-erected tbe building and obtained other machinery to complete the plant. He determined to rebuild and to obtain tho Tery best machinery to be had for money m the modern borne of mocbanical geniui. For this latter purpose bo visited tho United States, and apent iome time m making observation) m the best mills m the country. Ho found the system that had satisfied the millers of the past condemned on all tides, but what was to be the system of the future was still an unsettled question. One thing was certain. Tho "gradual reduction " process, by which the grain is subjected to repeated grinding!, successively rlussr and closer, commencing with a simple cracking of the gnin and ending with the finest trituration of the particles, had become firmly established. What was yet unsettled was, what wer» the best machines for performing this procesf. Some millers continued to use stoacs, but the roller mill, introduced from Hungary, was forcing its way everywhere. The rolls, however, woro being modified m endleis ways, and the various inventors of rolls and systems of rolls, and of combinations of rolls and (tones, each m turn claimed to have attained the tie plus ultra of grinding machinery. Many of the systems adopted answered so perfectly m the hands of capable men, that the claims of their inventors appeared to be substantiated, and amid »J much variety and equally sucjessfal use of different meant, it was a difficult thing to decide which system of grinding machinery was really the best. Mr Bruce determined to hear what was to be Slid m favor of each, and what was more to his purpose, to see aad judge for himself, and after a careful examination of various mills, he decided m favor of tbe gradual reduction rolls which he bai now set up, and m which h»lf-a-dozen or more reductions are made. A similar course of enquiry was necessary m the cisc of the " purifiers," the machines m which the finer purticles are separated from the coarser after each reduction. A glance at the advertisement pages of an Amerioan milling journal shows that the "best " purifiers m the market are legion, each maker of a new machine claiming to have produced somethin; which puts all others m the shade, a claim which is of course energetically resitted by older makers. The same difficulty meets the purchaser of " bolting reel»," " bran dusters," wheat cleaners and heaters, and the hundred and one minor appliances required m a first-class mill. It is to be noted that m America millers obtain their machinery from many different makers, each of whom may make a specialty of one machine, one firm, for instance, making only one kind of roller mill, a second another kind, a third purifiers, a fourth bolting reels, and so on, each being complete m itself, so that a miller may make any one of a vast variety of combinations open to him. By dint of careful observation, and the use of practised eyes at well as ears, Mr Bruce wat enabled to make a selection among the various machines offered and pressed upon him. It is impossible for one who has not gone over the same ground, and who is not at tho same time equally qualified, to offer a final judgment on his selection ; but there cannot be a second opinion that the machinery now at work m the Royal Mills is a magnificent milling plant. But the making choice of machinery is possibly the least difficult part of the work of fitting up a mill on the American system. "In the American mill," to quote a milling journal, " everything is moving, and manual labor plays no part m aiding tbe process. Countless spouts, elevators and conveyors are doing their part m keeping the material m motion, conveying it steadily along from one process to another, until the finished product is delivered at the packers and m the offal bins, and if, by chance, a choke occurs m any part of the vast and complicated system, the miller unaccustomed to thiß system is lost. The consciousness that tons of material are advancing steadily towards the barrier m a score of devious ways and beyond the power of the operatives to check it has the effect of throwing into inextricable confusion the miller trained m a mill where the withholding a task of material at the proper time will allow the spouts to run empty m a few minutes." Tbe mill builder* work is to properly arrange bis driving gear, " spouts, elevators and conveyors," so that the whole shall work smoothly and evenly, without a obancs of a "choke" occurring anywhere. When it is considered that m the Royal Mills there are scores of elevators, scores of conveyors, scores of sponts, and hundreds of places where " a little thing gone wrong" would produce a " choke," it will be seen that the proper arrangement of all theie automatic appliances is a most important matter indeed. This arrangement Mr Bruce effected himself, and we understand with entire luocess. Wo have heard it remarked that it would have been wiser to have brought out from tho United States a penon whose profession it is to superintend the fitting up of such mills ; but against this is to be set the certainty that to do co would bave been very expensive, and the possibility that the person so engaged would after all prove to be a bungler. These considerations induced Mr Bruce to undertake the fitting up of tbe mill himaelf, and the successful completion of bis work does him infinite credit. The mill is now m full working order, and everything seems to go with the regularity of clockwork, from the emptying of the wheat into the hopper of an elevator to the fall of the flour and offal into tho packing presses. The mill will not be run to its full capacity for a month or two, the belting and other gearings. requiring a little time to tettle down to their work. When m full work tbe machinery now m the mill will be equal to the production of 40 tons of flour per day of 21 hours. The quality of the dour produced can be varied at plcaiure. At present it is engaged m turning out a single kind, the ordinary flour, called m America tbe " straight grade." By moving a few slides it can bo separated into three grades—" first patent," consisting of about 35 por cent of the whole, — the cream of the flour j "second patent," similar to the " straight grade " j and " third patent," a low class flour, the "skimiailk" of tho whole. Tbe highest class of flour must be sold at a higher figure to counter-balance the lower price that the third grade muit be sold forj and poisibly, on that account, some little time will elapse before it becomes to popu'nr here as (lie demand for it proves it to be m Amend, and, it may be ad led, m Vienna, where the demand for the very finest flour stimulated the invention of Hungarian miller* until they achieved the graduul reduction process. Whichever farm tho demand may take.it may be confidently anticipated that the new mill will meet with a continued demand for its products, and with so extensive an agricultural diatriotaiounJ it, it is impossible that it can fail to be kspt fully employed,

It is the only mill m the Southern Hemi•phero as jet m which the gradual productioa process hat been adoptsd, and it will be astonishing if the produce of that process winch hat superseded, or is fait superaeding, the o'd system m Amcrici and m Europe, cannot command a market here. A great many persona having expressed a wish (o lee the Royal Flouring Mills at work, Mr Bruce issued invitstbns to a large number of tie business people of the town, old residents and others, to go over tha mill jesterday afternoon. Most or all the invitations were taken advantage of, tho mill was m full work, and overyone expressed Iho greatest interest m tho various mnchinea and appliances. By the courtesy of Mr Bruce, we are enabled to give our readers the following deioription of the building and its contents : — The building, erected on tho site of the one destroyed, is of brick on concreto foundation, and faces Grej street on the south, and the railway overlooking ths sea on tho east. The Grey stre«t front of the mill proper has a lenglh of 88ft, but added to this are offices and an oatmeal department 30ft wide, making the total frontage 118 ft. The eastern or railway frontago is 74ft. The mill portion is 75ft high from the ground to the roof bed, divided into six storeys, and i» covered with a bound roof of the mansard type, covered with galvanised iron and lead. The catmeal section, on the western side, is five storeys high. The building is exceedingly well lighted, the Qrey street front showing 68 circular headed windows, the railway front .28, and ether sides 18 ; making 114 altogether, besides fanlights over doors. The base and siring course are finished m cement ; the external walls are plaia except for projecting pilasters, which give relief while strengthening the walls. Tho whole building is welt proportioned and most substantially built. All storey posts and corbels carrying the floors are of ironbark ; the beams and joist ing are all well trursed with iron, and a new feature m building is introduced, the whole building being completely laced with iron so that any " give " is next to impossible, cither m spreading or weight-carrying, making all thoroughly (tiff and rigid. The smoke stack, 110 ft high, which wai so prominent a feature of the former mill, does not appear so high beside the new building. This and pirt of tho boiler house ni'J the only remaining portions of the old mill buildings. Theerjund floor is divided into two portions by a brick wall running ei»t and west, and is chiefly occupied for stonge, but entering at the main door m Grey street the visitor is immediately confronted by a double line of shafting, 56ft long, carrying about twenty large pulleys, from which run belts to drive the seventeen roller mills on the next floor and one or two other machines. Between the two shafts seren triple set* of elevators, light wooden boxer, ruu from floor to ceiling, and far up into the upper storeys, their total height|being 77ft. At tho west end, near the engine room, a heavy bevel gearing turns a vertical main shaft 73ft long, and tapering from 4in m diameter at the foot to 2}in at the top ; by which power is transmitted to all the machinery m the mill oxcept the rolls. On ths first floor are two rows, one of seven and one of ten, of double roller mills (37 pairs of rolls m all), with their feeding spouts from the floor above. Each mill occupies a floor space about sft. by 4ft, and thetop of the feedcheit is about sft above the floor. The members of each row stand cloie together, about two inches apart, and each row presents a remarkably neat appearanc. The workmanship and material of these mills, their iron framing, wooden casing, and fine gearing, appear to be of the best. A vivid idea of the " gradual reduction " process will be gained from the fact that only one of the seventeen mills is fed with whole grain. Between the two rows of mills rise the double cases of the 21 elevators. On this floor the packing ib carried en. It is sufficient to fay that tho flour-packer resembles that used wita chaff-cutting machines, the packing-screw, however, nearly filling the area of ths cylinder. There are three of thrse packers, for use when three grades of flour are bring made. Only one is m use at present. A weighbridge stands beside tbo picker, for weighing the bags as they are filled. Here, also, is fixed the machinery for working an American elevator or hoist, to lift and lower goods from any fl:orof tha building from and into railway trucks, lha casing of the hoist is now being constructed outside the building. On the next floor are nine " stock" bins (stock being partially {reduced material), and three flour bins, whose purpose is to retain material, when required, which would otherwise go direct to one of tha mills below. They act m a tense as safety valves, and allow one mill to bo stopped for repairs, ate, without stopping the whole series. Tho twentyone elevators mentioned as rising from the ground floor present a curious appearance here, — scores of tube spout ings running among and into them. The only machine on this floor is a bran-packer, with its weighbridge. Mounting to the next floor, the liiitor is confronted by a line of half a dozen " purifiers" on the southern half of the floor. These are remarkable machines, with thre* or four glazed windows on each side, aDd what looks like a Venetian blind nil along tho side near the bottom. In these the produce of the mills is separated according to the size of tbo particles, and the results conveyed to different mills to be further reduced if not fine enough, or to the bolting reels when sufficiently reduced. Every mill sends its produce into one or other of the purifiers. The works are all olosely cased m, except where the Venetian opens on each side. Each. '. purifier has a large trunk rising from the top, through wbioh a current of air is drawn by a blatt-fan, the air finding ingress through the Venetian. These flour sifters would raisn a cloud of dust were it not for this directed draught, but this prevents there being any dust m the dressing rooms. Indeed the absence of flour dust is one of the most striking features of ths mill. The millers' clothes certainly are, "whitened, but the visitor of an hour would scarcely notice any settlement on hiß olothes, provided he touohed nothing. On tha eastern half of the same floor are twelve silk bolting machines, or " dressers." These are built m independent sets of four, two above the other two, are very neatly cased m, and the range makes an impressivo show. Here also are bins for feeding the bran and sharps packer on the floor bolow. Passing to the next floor, we find another tct of six purifiers of different make from those below, and three more sets of quadruple dreesorj, with the forest of elevators and spouls repeated between them ; and an additional " stock elevator" — the twenty)- second — Blarts here for a higher level. On this floor is a bran bolter or duster, a little machine for scouring bran, to rub off any particles of flour tha*. may not have been separated by the machines through which it had previously passed. After going through this machine, tho bran is nothing but what its name indicates. Passing up the fifth stair a height of 65 feet above the street is reached. On this floor is seen the tops of the 22 stock elevators, and the head of the wheat elevator. A case reaohing the greater part of the length of tho room contains six "scalping reels" on one shaft, through which the first six reductions are respectively passed. There are also half a dozen more bolting reels m sets of two, and another bran duster. The most striking object on this floor is the "exhaust house" or "dust catch or." This is a case about 60ft long and eight feet rqusre, the sides of which are formed of linen, folded inward m lsrge close pleats like the bellows of an accordian. Into this chamber a blast fan m its vicinity forces a constant current of air, which it draws through the purifiers and other dressing i machines, carrying with it the light particles ; which would otherwise fly out of the ma- ; chines as dust. The bottom of the chamber [ slopes on each side to the centre, where »n I urchimedian conreyer carries the dust to one I end to bo rolurned to one of the reels. ) The upper terminations of the many clerai tors on this floor make an almost bewildering • show. Nothing has yet been said of the ap--9 pliances for preparing the wheat for grinding. I These are all placed m rooms separated from ) the flouring part of the mill, so that the flour r shall not be contaminated by the dirt from the i grain. A large belt-and-cup elevator runs , from top to bottom of tha building, and on eaoh r floor a trough is placed having an opening i ioto the elevator, so that grain stored anyi where can be placed m it wilh very little 1 trouble. Lifted to the top storey, tbe grain s descends through drosting machines which 1 extract all refuse. From those it descends i through threo brushing or scouring machines, s which destroy smutty grains and rub off tbe i. little down that appsars on the upper end of

each grain, and any dust that may be adhering to it, exhaust blasts drawing the dust away from each machine. From tho brushes, or between tha brushes if required, the wheat passes through ctpacious bint, full of steam pipes, where it can be dried if this is tiecessary, or heated if this should maio it grind belter. By the time a parcel of grain has passed through these machines it is perfectly clesn. The mill is entirely automatic, and all th&t the few etnploTui have to do is to oil tbe machinery, and give attention here and there whero a slight impcrfcctiongivesrisetodacgsr of b choke occurring. From the tine the grain is emptied into the elevator on any floor, it is never indebted to direct human agency for its movement, until the flour or bran packer takes his filled sack from the packing presp. Carried up elevators, tumbled down spouts, forced along conveyors, oscillated m the purifier;, tosied m the bolti, whirled m the dusters, tho length of its course, if it could be measured, would be found to be something almost incredible. ■So complicated and numberless are the movements of the broken grain, that mills of this kind may be likened to animals, [and m the United States one that will cot work properly is said to be " sick," while persons who make it their calling to put rick mills right are called "mill doctors. Whatever function of an animal organism the production of flour may be likoned to, the range of appliances which terminate m the dustcatcher may be compared to the respiratory organs, while tho nervous system finds an analogue m the system of spenking tubes, which give direct communication between each floor and tbe engine-room, and which are eventually to be extended to tbe manager's office. The engine-roons, the centre of force to the whole, contains a magnificent compound engine, kept m first* class order, and to well set that not the slightest vibration it perceptible m the room while it is at work. It may be mentioned that it rests on a bed of concrete seven feet thick, which alone cost £100. Attached to the engine is an ingenious piston lubricator, by means of which tho several pißtons of the engine are perfectly lubricated, the steam itaelf acting as conveyor of the oil. Steam is supplied by a couplo of Cornish boilers, with Galloway tubes, 16ft lorig nnd 6ft 6in m diameter. These are substantially set, m a separate boiler hou<o, whero room has been left for erecting a third boiler. The furnace doors are only 12ft from a railway siding, so that fuel is laid down with tbe minimum of labor. The water required for the condensers is obtained from the town supply, and advantage is taken of the pressure to make it do useful work beforo it reaches the condensers, by passing it through a turbine wheel. It muit be mentioned that a water pipe is carried up within tho building, and a hose provided on aach floor for fire prevention purposes. One part of the mill building, almost entirely separated from tbe rest, is not yet occupied. This is to be filted up as an oatmeal mill, and Mr Bruce intends to make it as perfectly automatic as the flour mill. The oats will be elevated to the kiln, which will bo heated by steam, turned on ihe kiln, and pasßed through the mill entirely by machinery. This mill is to be ready by next harvest if possiblr, From the abor« doscription.it will be seen that iv the Royal Flouring Mills, South Canterbury possesses an establishment of which it may be proud, and every resident will, we are sure, heartily wish Messrs Bruce and Co. the success which their enterprise deserves.

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BRUCE'S ROYAL FLOURING MILLS. Timaru Herald, Volume XXXVII, Issue 2498, 23 September 1882

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