The Alsacian Mills Ltd, Strasburg
by Mildred Cookson, The Mills Archive, UK
The Miller (June 7th, 1909) reported that the Alsacian Milling Company Ltd. was founded in the autumn of 1906 by G Ramspacher of Wilwisheim and H Huck of Sand. It was based in the German town of Strasburg, part of Alsace. All three towns and the region became part of France after the First World War; Strasburg became Strasbourg and Alsacian is now generally spelt Alsatian.
Both of the owners had had mills which were burnt down in the same year, so they chose a new site equidistant from their homes to erect the new mills at the Rhine port of Strasburg. The mill would have an hourly capacity of 25 sacks of flour and, after careful deliberation and a thorough study of the plans submitted to them, the contract was awarded Messrs Luther of Brunswick. The position and size of the building were chosen so that the site could be extended if needed, and the new mill started work in December 1907.
The silo building, situated on the right wing, a distance of some 20 feet from the mill proper, was capable of holding over 100,000 bushels of wheat, and contained 18 silos arranged in three rows of six. One of the corner silos near the quay had a stairway. The silo building was 62ft long, 44ft wide and 95ft high and could be more than doubled in size if required. The walls and hoppers were constructed of 'Beton' iron and were, therefore, fireproof.
The mill buildings, with their striking frontage seen from the Rhine Bridge, were 290ft long and 46ft wide. The intakes and cleaning plant were situated on the right-hand side, the flour mixing and packing rooms on the left-hand side of the building. The mill itself was 180ft long and consisted, like the flour mixing department, of five floors; the wheat-cleaning department had six floors. The width of the building was sufficient to allow for a duplicate set of machinery, both in the screen house and in the mill. Fireproof walls divided all the departments from each other.
At the back of the main building were three flights of stairs with adjoining balconies, two of which gave access to the wheat cleaning department and mill, and the third permitted access to all the floors of the mill and the mixing department. This arrangement ensured easy exit, in case of fire, from all floors and departments into the open. The flour warehouse stood on the left-hand side at a distance of 20ft from the main building and was connected to the packing department on the first floor by a light iron bridge.
The boiler and engine house, as well as the chimney stack, were situated behind the main building. This building contained, next to the wheat cleaning department, the rope shaft for the reception of the main drives. The walls were built of lime sandstone. The ceilings of this and the offices consisted of T-irons placed at long distances from each other and the floors were covered with three-inch boards.
A ship's elevator, with an hourly capacity of 60 tonnes, and a band conveyor delivered the wheat from the boats to a large automatic self-registering weighing machine in the screen house. From there, wheat travelled by elevator to two large warehouse separators with shaker sieves with a powerful suction to extract dust, coarse and fine impurities. The screen house was fitted with a double milling separator with reciprocating brushes, two large magnetic separators, one grader for two sizes, two horizontal brushes and cockle and barley cylinders. After the cleaning process, the wheat was then collected in conditioning bins.
The break rolls were 60x10 inches in diameter and the smooth rolls 40x10 inches in diameter. There were eight double break roller mills and 22 double smooths of the new Luther diagonal type, set in two rows. The roller mills were protected by patents and were well-built and substantial machines. The grinding rolls were placed diagonally to each other and were fed by a special feeding device, which had one feed roll placed below the other. This lower feed roll delivered the material to the nip of the rolls direct, without the use of back or guide plates. By this means, an accumulation of material behind the rolls and a streaky feed was avoided, and a regular stream and absence of flakes was ensured.
There were 23 Luther plansifters, which were so well balanced that there was no vibration. Semolina, middlings and dunst were treated by 10 double 'Brilliant' purifiers. The fans, exhausted from the roller mills and plansifters, were connected with the 'Luther' suction filter dust collectors, and were provided with automatic shakers.
The finished products, such as flour, thirds and large and fine bran, were conveyed to the mixing and packing departments where they were weighed and packed. The flour and bran bins delivered their respective products by means of chutes on to the different floors where they were sacked off. The better class qualities of flour were packed by three automatic packing machines. There was also a large flour warehouse, with sack slide and hoist, used for conveying the sacks from one floor to another as required. A sack conveyor discharged into boats by means of another specially constructed sack slide.
The whole installation, including lighting, was worked by a 400-horsepower tandem compound steam engine. There were two Cornwall boilers fitted to superheat the steam to 350°F. From the rope flywheel the ropes drove two lines of shafting in the basement for the rolls. All ropes ran in rope shafts to prevent accidents. Two lines of shafting on the fourth floor drove plansifters, purifiers, elevators and worms, and one line of shafting on the first floor drove the wheat cleaning machinery, ship elevators, and silo elevators.