Richard & Stacy's Round the World Trip 2001

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Heineken Brewery
Wooden Shoe Factory
Colour Windmill

The colour windmill grinds chalk into a fine powder which is mixed with dye to make coloring for textiles and painting. Its a remarkable machine, originally made totally of wood and even today still primarily wood with iron reinforcement. There are a number of mechanisms driven by the main shaft, gear and cog, including a seven ton grinder, a five ton grinder, four cutting blades and two hammers.

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Looking from the lower floor up at the main shaft (the grey beam in the center of the photo). At the time this photo was taken, the shaft was turning rapidly due to the strong wind.    The main gear attached to the main shaft, also turning rapidly at the time of the photo. The main shaft is ahead of the main gear at this angle.
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From the second floor, the entire main shaft is visible. You can also see the beams and pegs for operating the four cutting blades (on the left) and two hammers (on the right).   Looking at the main gear from the second floor - also visible is the main cog, which provides power to both grinding wheels as needed.

All tools driven by the windmill can be engaged and disengaged as needed. While we were in the windmill, only the seven ton grinder was operating. The mechanism for handling the cutter and hammer tools is simple enough, just raising or lowering the beams into the range of their pegs on the main shaft. The two grinding wheels are a bit more sophisticated: the top apex of the drive shafts for each grinding wheel are moved by ropes in and out of mesh with the main cog.

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A long range view of the main cog, which is driven by the main gear just out of view at the bottom of the photo.    A closer view of the seven ton grinder gear, engaged with the main cog. The right hand five ton grinder gear is not meshed with the main cog.
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A look up the drive shaft of the five ton grinder, showing how it is offset from the main cog and disengaged. Ropes allow the drive shaft to be moved back and forth from the ground floor as needed.   While taking these photos, the left-hand seven ton grinder gear was suddenly disengaged! The operator of the colour windmill was shutting down for the night, so he disengaged the grinder. At this moment the windmill is free-wheeling, just turning the main shaft, main gear and cog.

After disengaging the grinder, the windmill operator had to finish shutting down the windmill, which meant furling all the sails on the vanes of the windmill. This meant going outside the windmill on the upper deck, where the hardware for turning the windmill into the wind, braking the vanes and doing furling is handled.

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Coming out from the second floor, the windmill is still turning in the strong breeze, but isn't driving anything.    On the other side of the windmill is the hardware for turning the windmill to face the wind and to brake (stop) the windmill.
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From the other side of the colour windmill platform, you can see the seed windmill, which grinds various grains into oil.   Just to the right of the seed mill is a beautiful view of the Dutch countryside, rain clouds or not.

Meantime, the windmill operator was furling the sails of the vanes on the windmill. He would use the brake to stop the windmill with one vane pointing straight down, tie the brake off (so the vanes would not move), then come around to the other side of the windmill and furl the sail. Then the process repeated - release the brake, let the vanes rotate a quarter turn, brake, tie off, furl... when he had the last vane in place for furling, the operator allowed us to approach the vanes side of the windmill.

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The second-to-last vane being furled by the windmill operator - there are barricades blocking any approach of the rotating vanes.  The last vane is in place for furling, so we can get nice and close (is this close enough?)...
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A bigger look at the vane system of the windmill. The flat black part of the vanes is actually iron, making the vanes much stronger than older wood-only versions. Furling in action - the sails are not removed from the vanes, just rolled up and tied off.
Click to see a larger version... Just about finished furling. Because of the iron running through the vanes, the final shut down step for a windmill is to connect an electrical cable from the base of the lowest vane to a cable that runs to the ground - a lightning rod, effectively.

So how old is this windmill? According to the documents of the windmill, it was originally built as a colour mill in 1646 but burned down November 27, 1782. It was demolished down to the level platform in 1902. In 1960 it was rebuilt from parts of other colour mills to the condition it is today.

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Here you can clearly see the iron in the vane, and the date it was installed - 1960. Notice also the thatch used for roofing (and walling material).   Windmills always have the dates of construction on them, this one shows two dates: 1781 and 1960. And you can see thatch in this shot too.

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