Old millstones and grindstones were specifically made for a variety of agricultural and industrial uses. For centuries, the milling of flour was dependant on millstones. The leather tanning industry used water-powered and later steam-powered machinery incorporating millstones for the crushing of bark to produce tannin.
The dyeing industry used similar machinery for the extraction of natural dyes from vegetable matter. Paper making also relied on the crushing and grinding of timber for the production of wood pulp and also for grinding rags and other textile waste.
The early British iron-working industry used great numbers of grindstones for sharpening edges on tools such as spades, picks and axes, and also for weapon-making for the military. From the late Medieval period Sheffield had significant numbers of water-driven workshops containing grindstones for knife and cutlery production.
Old reclaimed millstones make fantastic water features, and can be incorporated also into walling schemes, both outside and inside the home, such as ‘Grand Design’ fireplaces, or can be employed in decorative and historically interesting landscaping projects.