Tide Mill Institute


Committed to sustainable Industrial Heritage

News Update, April 2011

The TIDE MILL INSTITUTE has been busy over the past six months.  Through our website we have received a number of queries about different mill issues, several not even tide mill related. TMI has become a link for information between interested parties, coordinating communication and information, a role that fits both our mission and usefulness to others.  In the future we look forward to continuing to support anyone seeking to find out more about tide mills.

2010 Sixth Annual Tide Mill Conference:  “Heritage and Sustainability”

The Tide Mill Institute hosted its 6th Annual Tide Mill Conference at the Old Schwamb Mill in Arlington, Massachusetts on Saturday, November 13, 2010.   Although it is not a tide mill, its operations are similar to those of a tide mill in all respects except for the source of the water to fill the mill pond.  A tour and working demonstration of the 19th-century wood-working mill followed the formal portion of the conference.  We are very grateful the hospitality of the mill volunteers, and we hope you will visit the mill for a demonstration. Check out the mill at http://www.oldschwambmill.org/

After a welcome message from Earl Taylor and an introduction by Bud Warren to the topic of the day, presentations included:

Richard A. Duffy: The Old Schwamb Mill in Context: Historical Water Power in Arlington.

Glen Marquis: 21stCentury Helical Turbines at Eastport, Maine.  

Chuck Hartman: The Wessaweskeag Tide Mill, Thomaston, Maine.

Susan Langley: Tide Mills of the Chesapeake.

Richard Duffy: Basque Country Tide Mills: Recent Explorations.

Open Forum: Discussion of Gorlov’s helical turbine.


Last fall Bob Goodwin and Bud Warren visited this 1790’s tide mill in Huntington New York and shared pictures they took were shared at the November conference. They met with a long-term docent associated with the Huntington Historical Society and with a representative of the Nature Conservancy, who has owned the property for years and was seeking to arrange for removal of the mill building. A local home-owner’s association that was negotiating with the Nature Conservancy to preserve the building and restore the deteriorating mill dam sought TMI’s support to preserve the site.  We presented information stressing the importance of this mill as representative of the industrial heritage of the region and offered a few suggestions.  Ultimately the two parties worked out a memorandum of understanding and thanked TMI for its involvement.



Millstones from a 1640’s New Amsterdam tide mill received help from TIDE MILL INSTITUTE when a representative from the Greater Astoria Historical Society in Queens NY asked us to submit a statement supporting their preservation in an effort to keep the stones from being installed in a roadway traffic island.


Because someone somewhere had seen TMI’s website, we received a query about a millstone in Tennessee; it was obviously not from a tide mill.  We forwarded the query and its photo to the US millstone expert Ted Hazen and to David Plunkett in the UK.  They responded with a wealth of information about the stone’s pattern, material, etc, which was shared all around.  Shortly thereafter we received a query and photo from someone in southeastern Virginia about a millstone on his great-grandfather's property. Someone at an internet mill photo site was aware of TMI and recommended he contact us.  Once again Ted and David came through with great information, and David obtained even more details from Jon Sass in the UK who has authored a book about millstones and millstone patterns.  These exchanges and sharing of information are good examples of TIDE MILL INSTITUTE at work, and we will try to make the information we’ve gathered available on our website. 


Related to these involvements is discussion about a possible archaeological dig at an 1830’s tidal grist mill on Deer Isle, Maine, where the original tub wheel may still lie in situ in the mud. We studied this mill a few years ago and have been talking to the Deer Isle Stonington Historical Society about co-sponsoring a dig there.  Apparently, few tide mills have been professionally “archaeologized” – a few on mainland Europe, and one each in England, Ireland and South America.  Another one in Maine, whose principals have sought TMI’s assistance, will be worked on theirs this summer and will announce their effort a a later time.  

Photo Gallery

Millstone from a 1600’s Queens NY tidal grist mill             

A non-tidemill stone from Tennessee

Deer Isle, ME

Van Wyck-Lefferts