While in Holland, we visited Zaanse Schans......a place where 17th Century windmills have been preserved and can be toured by the public. These mills are still fully functional and are wonderful examples of early technology. They are situated along the river Zaan. This one is a dye mill and is called "De Kat".
I took this shot from the main "deck" of the mill. This is the big capstan wheel which is used to turn the 15 ton cap (which houses the sail rig) into the wind.
These particular windmills are covered with thatch. Thatch generally lasts about 50 years before it has to be replaced....which is a lot better than our asphalt shingles which only last about 20!
Inside, it was kind of like being in a well built barn. There were huge timberframes and narrow staircases going up to the higher levels. The wind wasn't blowing much the day we were there, so the gears weren't engaged. It enabled me to get better photos this way!
These are the actual millstones which grind the pigments into powder. They were huge! I can't imagine how they got them into place. I'm guessing they were close to four feet high.
I can't believe I climbed up (and down) these narrow, steep stairs!
There were so many pulleys and ropes....it made me think of being on an old ship!
Here are the gears that weren't engaged. Normally, one side would be touching the middle, since the power comes from the middle shaft. But like I said...it wasn't very windy that day.
I'm assuming all could be running at once on a good day.
I think it's great that the actual gears are made of wood, and not metal.
This shot I got while coming down one of the narrow staircases. I thought, "Hey! What a great shot!"