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Full text of "The history and construction of Ellicott Mills at Ellicott City, Maryland / by Theodore Bishoff"

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Presented to- 
January 16 , 1931 


T/ieodore Bishoff * 3£ 



1. Atlas of Howard County, Md.--0. M, opicins 

2. .9 Monumental City- -Howard 

3. history of Baltimore City and County--', -'charf 

4. Slliootb, Fox, and 3vane ?amiliee--C. iivane 

5. The Settlement of ^llicotts Milla--M, Tyt. on 

6. Founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties-- 

. 7arfields 

7. I ill /right's Guide-- I^rans 

t. The Baltimore Sun- -Dec. 29, 1907 -June 20, 1926 

9. Mr. J. 3chapiro--Co^tinental Milling Co. 

iicott City, I'd. 

10. Mr. H, ~. Swan — All is Chalmers Manufacturing Co, 

Milwaukee, "! is con sin 

11. Hr. Lewie Clark— Slilcott City, ! T d. 

12. Land Hecords--Cour t House—Ellicott City, Md . 



Bllioobfc mile were started in 17f£ and com- 
pleted in 1774. The founders introduced improvements 
which justly entitle: them to be called, "The real 
progenitors oi' modern milling in Maryland." Not only 
did their plant influence the flour milling industry 
but it alto had far reaching effects on every branch of 
commerce, industry, and life in Maryland. Today, after 
# weathering the set backs of two fires and a flood, 
the mille efcill operate in a large modern structure, 
one of the most un-to-date plants in this country. 


Ellieott I.ilie, now known a£ the Patapseo flour- 
ing Mills, constitute a large modern milling plant situated 
in the valley of the Pa baps oo River, ten miles west of 
Baltimore, Although it uses methods and machinery comparable 
with those of any flour mill in the United States, and is one 
of the newest and most modern plants in the eastern section 
of this country, its history dates back one hundred and fifty 
nine years to the days when the present state of Maryland was 
an English Colony and the United Ltatet was in the embr ionic 
stage; but a vague dream in the minds of a few American 
colonic ts . 

ie mill was conceived and built at a time when 
I ij. ryland was in a state of stagnation. Immigration into the 
colony had practically ceased. Due to the imperfect m«a 
of transportation, the abeenee of manufacturing induafcrlte, 
and the lack of cultivation of the territory's natural re- 
sources, the growth of population after lot very slow. 
All the productive energy of the people was concentrated in 
the raising of a single cron, tobacco. C uently few of 
the luxuries of life and many of its necessities were not 

v ilable to the colonists. This resulted in the spr> 
of destructive diseases and a high rate of mortalit. The 
founding o-. \1. icotb Mills produced an immediate change, and 


ibs Importance can not be overestimated. Phe agricultua 
pr< sea, the e/. P ort trade, the life, manners , ar.d customs 
of the people, and even "the face of the counl » wae altered 
by the Ellieotte and their mill. To the casual observer today 
the mill it merely an edifice in which t »thod€ of a 

ientlfie age are utilized in the Production of ry 

foodstuff. E in U more than this. It U , r 

bhat s * ve ' '■ : ' rowth : . portation, 

■ po lation in Maryland; u« life and history are intij 
ith the life anc lefcory of the 

:istori ... 

Irj iy - illloobt bro> ; Andrew, Joes 

-- : :; landi ana all vaber rig! Jr a distance 

four miles f the Patapeco River. : 

emigrated from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where their 

ily owned a mill, I Lth the l bfi| 

Lnery and worfcmeu that they needed to construct ard lt e 

a mill, and at the eame time, rales their , ■■ eat. The 

Journey was long and difficult. Part wae aecoi lished over 
water hy ship, and the remainder by hauling over land. During 
the last stage of the journey it *ae necessary to carry the 
lug, by hand. _a Bite elected for the mill roe in the 

center of their four mile tract and in * epot they called, 


ollc ". : : v/af amply descriptive of the place. 

L 11- bo -be was flanked or: all tide.' by high granite hi lie, 
coated with a wilderness of great, stately trees, and abounding 
with game. A . til] built first, where the lumber for the 
homes of the workmen and the mill building itself was produced. 

At that time wheat wat grown only for the personal use of the 
very rich land owners in Maryland. The land had become sterile 
from excessive production of tobacco, which was practically 
the only crop and wae used, almost exclusively, in place of 
money, as a medium of barter and exchange. I'r.e i-llicotU 
believed that they could raise abundant crons of wheat between 
the river and the Blue Hidge I'ountairs, and triea to persuade 
their neighbors to do the same. This project was looked upon 
as fanatical by the planters who prophesied disaster for the 
entire scheme. However, it rroved that tne far-seeing 
Ellicott brothers were right. Their mill was finished in 
1774. A small town, the nucleus of the present Ellieott 
City, sprang up around the mill. Their wheat crop wat large 
3 good, and tie business of manufacturing flour wat begun. 

ords show that the first tales of flour were to ft, L. 

ley, owner of a warehouse at Eli Ridge Landing, who each 
week, for three successive weeks, bought one hundredbarrels 
of flour. Id keeping with their purpose and policy of dev- 
eloping the resources of the country the Ellicotta built , 
in addition to the mill, a store, a warehouse, various 


orchards and nurseries, a school for the children, and a road, 
ten miles long, from the mill to the manor of Charles Carroll, 
future signer of the Declaration of Independence. Carroll was 
induced to grow wheat, as were, one by one, hie neighboring 
planters, they, In ord a r to gain a market for their flour, 
cooperated with the Elllcotte in prolonging the road to 
Frederick town, now known ae Frederick. In the meantime, 
Joseph had withdrawn from "EHicott and Co." in 1774. e 
moved up the river two miles and at the P&lli , tore down's, old corn mill and erected a new flour mill and store. 
This mill, called Ellicott'e Upper Hill, was more valuable 
than the lower one, being situate! on the Baltimore-Fre: erick 
road. The road, built by the Eliicotte, however, finally 
became the more traveled one. This reversed the values of 
the two mills and today no vestige of the Upper Kill remains. 
Ellicott Town was the name riven to the settlement 
which grew up about the lower mill. The brothers told and 
leased much of their property to men whom they encouraged to 
erect mills for "the shea thing of copper, the manufacturing 
of rails, -..nd the slitting >f bare". The Elllcotte acnuired 
plaster of par is rock from Eova Scotia, and built a mill for 
its pulverisation into fertilizer dust. Use of thie fertilizer 
greatly increased the quality s ^quantity of their wheat cron, 
and soon the duet came into general use throughout Maryland. 
The town grew into a eizeable manufacturing community and today, 


8 till retains itt early appearance and manufacturing acti- 
vities . 

The flour business of "Ellicott and Co." ft 
apace with the town. In 176$ the supply of wheat had become 
to large that the Ellicotts prepare:! to e.-:nort their flour. 
To do this, they built a warehouse and wharf in Baltimore on 
the corner of Pratt and Light Streets. L'o dredge the river 
they used "liud Machine e" of their own invention* which operated 
on the same principles as the modern machine B of today. Wagons 
traveled daily from the mill to the Baltimore wharf, carrying 
flour for their export trade which flourished. This resulted 
in the growth of a road which wat later to become the Rational 
Highway from Baltimore to the West. 

The brothers, in 1762, installed in their mill several 
of their own inventions which revolutionized the process of flour 
milling. Chief among these were the "Elevator", the "Hopper 
Boy", and the "Conveyor". It has been calculated that the 
savings from these improvements, through increase in manufacture 
and decrease in number of employees, were $57. 375 annually. In 
17fc7, Ellicott Kills were producing three hundred and twenty 
barrels of flour a day. Inspired by this example, the milling 
industry in I.'aryland grew with astonishing speed. By 1610 there 
were three hundred and ninety-nine wheat milli in the state, most 
of them using machinery and processes similar to those used by 
the Ellicotte. 'Because of their creation of a demand for wheat 


and tJ Llli bryj and their gen ibution of 

new maenin , the Bllieott brot •- ten 

been Justl; . there ." 

In 1795 •" Leofcfc died. Andrew Ellicobt re- 

tired and the mille to hit three eons, 

Jonatl . Las , and George, who in partnership with tht 

tin: John, eon oi" the , • operation 

of the mill. Their e tore , ;' the road from the mill, 

plied the residents o- .../land with many Imported luxuries 
n -. " been lacking in the oomomnity. Tne store 
11] .e a congregating and stopping place for all the 
neighbors and travelers on the Baltimore road, /he Hllicotte 
entertained lavishly and were hospitable to an unusual degree. 
Everyone free bo inspect the mill and its improvements. 

•/-a Git- tad ytft.'-rcJ 

Oliver ->ans , a mathematician anf inventor M of their geheroeit.v 
by incorporating their inventions in eome or is own and Patent- 
ing them in the state legislature. Later, in 1618 or It 12, he 
sued tnem for infringing his patents. Tre illlicottt mere in- 
volved in a costly suit because of their failure to patent their 
ideas, which they had nob done because they preferred that other 
mill own ere , at well as themselves, thould benefit by their in- 
ventions. Evans iott hie suit but retained his patents on the 
plea oi' combining the lmprovemei ts of the Ellieotts. Or. royalties 
aooruing from millere whom he sued for UEing his inventions, 
Evans grew wealthy, while all the 311icotts, except Jonathan, 
died leaving modest estates. 


In 1&09 tne original mill building wat completely 
destroyed by lire. A new one was immediately code true ted on 
the tame site. In ltl2 Ellicott and Co. was dissolved. Its 
mill properties were divided, Jonathan retaining the Patapsco 
mill while Eliae, John, and George divided be twee?' t emeelrea 
three mills on Gwinn's Falls, The original mill continued to 
operate, under tne name of "Jonathan Ellicott and Son?, pro- 
ducing "A Superior Article of Family Flour". 

Trie preliminaries bo the organization of the Balti- 
more and Onio Kail way were taking place in Baltimore during the 
year lfcEV. Inducements offered by Ellicott- Mills and the other 
manufacturing plants '"rich had grown up around them, probable, 
were instrumental in securing the laying of the first railroad 
lineir America from Baltimore to the I.'ills. The line was fifteen 
miles long and is still in operati n, being the first leg of the 
road from Baltimore to the Ohio River. The road was first opened 
in June of IfcSC and today, supplies the transportation for the 
Hill's flour to its markets. 

The mill property was lost forever to the Ellicott 
family during the disastrous business panic of 16.37. It passed 
into the hands of Mr, J. L. Carroll , who was a grandson of Charles 
Carroll, and had been trustee for Jonathan Ellicott. Car.oll , in 
partnership with Mr. C. A. Sambrill, opera tec" the mill. It was 
probably at this time that the name wat. change to the "Pataptc.' 
Flouring Tills". 


Ib was in the year of the great flood, 1668, that the 
mill passed into the hands of Mr. Gambrill alone. The flood was 
sudden and unexpected. Phe river had reached a high level f J om 
previous rttine when early one morning, after a half an hour, 
during which eighteen inches of water f ell, the terror-stricken 
inhabitants of Sllicot L City were confronted with a raging torrent 
of water which had broken bounds and started on its disastrous 
court e from the upper part of the Patap; co. The mill, ita office, 
and a row of twelve houses were at that tirjie situater on the mill 
it land, formed by the river and the mill race. All twelve of the 
houses and their thirty-six occupants vere swept away by the rag- 
ing waters. The mill office m the north tide of the road wae 
obliterated. On the roof of the mill were five workmen ?i th 
hastily constructs life-preservers of empty flour barrels. j, '-e 
battering ram of water struck the frame t.uilding. Much to the 
priee of the terrified onlookers, it withstood the attack of 
e torrent which had lost mu< ' its force In the 3 '. ' : 
of tne stone houses. I'he mill, although much damaged, remained 
.ding and the lives of the workmen were saved. 

For its , the mill remained under the ownership 
of Mr. M», in 1172', it became the property of Mr. ... '. 

eGrill, who ir 1U1, sold i t to , the C. A., rill Mai cturif 
Baltimore, ffhile in the hands of that company, and dn _ 
it; . I Tar 3per " ' ., the Lid \leteLy burned 

Ire ccurred in 1917 and run. or was that It was started by 


German spy. L'his, however, seems unlikely when the ,- nces 
of accidental flour mill are eonsJ ■ . The true 

caii - -as pre accidental igniti f a mix- 

ture of fl ir * - large, modern, fire-proof b 

was erected by the Gambrill Co v - ad from the site 

former mill. Tt coj 11 the latest machinery and pro- 
cesses i siting in a tly * ■ " 3r produetio - 
Pha new plant wa£ bought in 1922 by Morris Schapiro, agent for 
the Continental Killing Co. On January 1, 1931 the mill change d 

s, this time bein r ; leaded to the Doughnut ire Corporation 
who already occupied and operated, ir a building at large as the 
nd 11 proper and adjoining it, a the past age of time and change 
ir. ownership of Ellicott Milli there aleo took . many res 
in its machinery, proeeseee, cone true t ion. 

ccaisTsucTi i cv mi 

Little is known of the app« trucbion 

of the original and earlj mills. Available records refer 
the 1774 Duly a&\ " a bouse, one nunc feet long of 
proportionate breadth and height^with spacious chambers for 
storage of grain". Ihafc machinery that oould not be construct- 
ed )n the spot had been brought from Penneylva ' . Kill stones, 
five feet in diameter, were used. The size and type of the 
water wheel are not ki o . -In 1783 the stones ware replaced by 
new ones, eeren feet in diameter, and the machinery, previous 


mentiDned as eing inve ' by the Ellloobbs, was Installed to 
replace band lab . Phie machinery consisted of :ffirefc t "eon- 
ve; ore operating on the ecrew principle in use today, second, 
'elevatore eonsiebing of belts with small buckets attached which 

.rried the grain acove where gravity was utilized in dropping 
it onto the mill, and third, the "hopper o; " , an ap- 
paratus lor cooling the flour by spreading it over a drum of 
large area. It is claimed that all the machinery except the 
mill e tones '//ere hidden from eight on the second floor. The 
operation of the plant needed no hand labor. Only personal 
supervision was necessary , and ofteh the only human being on 
the premises was a one-armed who received and discharged all 
the grain. This story may be a little far-fe tched ; but In the 
main, is probably true. All the more probable doee it seem when 
it is known that one of the Ellicotts lost his a*m arm in." an 
explosion while experimenting with a eteam engine of his own in- 
vention. He may have beer, the one-armeo man referred to. 

The mill erected ur>on the burning of the first, in 
lfc09, was a frame structure embodying all the improvements in- 
stalled in the former, i painting of Ellieot t City made prior 
to the i'lood , and now hanging in the court house , shows the mill 
as naving three stories and a garret. An advertisement, lfc54, 
pictures the same building as having a stone foundation and a 
railroad siding in front. The only building mow standing, remnant 
oi' trie mill before the 1917 fire, it a frame building shown in Fig.l, 

- 13 - 

Courtesy of B. & O. R- R, 

Ellicott City when it was known as ElHcott's MiUs- 
from an old print 

Photograph (taken from page 13, American Motorist, Oct. 
1930) which appears to be a reproduction of a portion c J 
the painting in the Court House, referred to on page 12, 
The arrow points to the mill. 

Figure 1. 
Vest view of frame building, This building is the only 
one remaining from the 1917 fire. 


This building is situated opposite the present mill and east of 
the road and mill race. HJhas , at tii : . been used for the man- 
ufacture of barrels and at a racking plant. k% present, it is 
being equipped for use ss]a feed mill in the manufacture of the 
various animal feeds now made in the mill proper. 

1 yihL 
T;:e pre* ot < Lant w&f cone true ted :• I Co eolid- 
ated E gering U'o. of Baltimore. It is of reinforced con- 
crete and the machinery equipment was furnished by Tore, he i 

jn Co., Indianapolis, Indiana. Bigure £ is an architect*! 
drawing of the building as constructed. I'he small building 
shown on the left has been removed, and a seven-etory build- 
ing equal in size to the mill prober has been built adjoining 
the latter. 1' building was occupied by the Doughnut Machine 
Corporal: rior to their xeas: the entire plant. To- 
gether the two buildings are approxim tel; S0( feet Long, 
40 feet deep, and 100 feet high. rhe mill proper, nrhich is 
the ri . nas eight floors and s » The bt -r.t, 
how , ing used. 

• -- .aim two adjoining, large ro: 
LI office. _ e the narrow I 
"it the testing laboratory, a room in the shape :• . ... "L", 
wherein are acted various urpose of determin- 

ing the moisture, protein, and glutein e t of the wheat. 
Also on the t floor, but in the center of the building given 
over to the manu re of do: ' flour, is the turbine room. 


Baltimore, Maryland, 

Const mi do era 1917. Capacidad: 1450 bar riles de harina 
de trigo por dia de 24 horas. 


Baltimore, Maryland. 

Built in 1917. Capacity 1,450 barrels wheat flour 
per day of 24 hours. 


Baltimore, Maryland. 

Construil en 1917. Capacile en 24 heures: 1450 quintaux 
de farine. 


Pack 48 

/^/^C/Z-tS t=L. fYorrf ¥/e\ns. (Over for Tfear V/e-w-) 


Building Department 

Flolr Mills and Grain Elevators 

Gambrill Mfg. Co, 
ellicott city, md. 

NORDYKld & MARMON. i;M.i\nr- 

Gambrill Mill Under Construction 

The above combination Flour Mill and Grain 
Elevator was executed during the winter 
months of 1916-17. The entire building is of 
reinforced concrete with minor brick curtain 
walls in the mill building and was constructed 
in record-breaking time with the thermometer 
at no time higher than 20 degrees and at times 
as low as 10 degrees. The low temperatures 
were never permitted to interfere with the 
progress of the work. Sliding wood forms were 
used in the elevator portion. 


This if a large, 3 room contai- ' board and two 

i ai g iea on the vertical turbine shafts, f Pig. 2.). 

level o ater i( h in the Pat ape co iiiver these 
turbines furnish half the electric pQ-»/er used ir, the plant. Be- 
neath the turbine room is a water chamber o^en bo t iter of 
the mill race. It is here that the riu .ter gives up its 
kinetic energy to the turning of the turbine shafts, and ie con- 
verted, by dynamo generation, into electrical energy. Only one 
turbine is in operation at a time. During the past half year the 
river water hae been so low that no po»'er could be generated at 
all. Both turbines were out of use and £ till remain so. 

entire second floor ie a packing room. In i t are 
scales and machinery for pac icing flour and feed into bags ana 
barrels. In the rear of the building, on level with the second 
floor, and running the length of the building is the loading J 
form, 1 ?ig. 4 ). IhiB if a wodden trestle with rails and room 
for two freight care side by side. The inside eage of the plat- 
form it about a foot and a half from the wall of the building. 
After the flour has been packed on the second floor it is easily 
and conveniently loaded into the cars. At the north end of the 
platform, wheat brought by car, is shoveled" directly out of the 
car door where it falls through the opening between the platform 
and tne building into containers and conveyors which lead to the 
storage bins. A wooden roof is suspended by wiree^over the load- 
ing platform. 

On the third floor is situated the immense General 


rigure 3. 

Tfyn&iai mounted on turbine 

'igure 4. 
Horth end oi" loading platform, 


Electric induefciOD motor which operates all the machinery in 
the plant. It is a 440 volt, 60 cycle, 450 horse power motor, 
at least half of whose power is supplied by the Baltimore Con- 
solidated Gas & Electric Power Co. The remainder of the floor 
ie occupied by the storage bine which run vertically through the 
building from the second up to the eighth floor. These bins, 
70 feet high, are capable of storing one hundred thousand bushels 
of wheu.t. 

The grinding of the wheat takes place on the fourth 
floor, where are situated thirty two grinding machines in eight 
rows, f Figures 5 £ 6 ). These, called roller mills, utilize 
corrugated rollers in grinding the wheat kernels. T> e machines 
in the same row grind to tne same size, those in other rows taking 
up and completing the process, while the remainder -rird the 
shells of the kernels into various sizes for use as. feeds. In 
a smaller room on the same floor are a hammer mill, a cockrell, 
and a scourer. The first consists of rotating knives which hammsr 
or cut the coats of the wheat into small particles for use as feed, 
while the latter polishes the finished flour. 

Tne fifth floor contains feed separators which part 
tne feed from the flour by means of a rotating e ilk-lined reel. 
Tne ma^'or portion of floor space, howev r, is given over to the 
assembly of pipes, chutes, and elev:.tors. Tne elevators are 
rectangular pipes containing moving belts, with small buckets 
or cups attached, which carry up the wheat or flour. They em- 
body the early inventions of the Eilicotts and are now in general 
use throughout the country. The round pipee lead the falling 



Cut 24543 

Pig. 5. 

.cent for a few 
minor change 8 in 
design, fchie ie 
the machine in- 
stalled in the 


Section through Side Arm of Nordyke Double 
Roller Mill to show adjustments 


wheat or flour in: chines, figure 7 is an il- 

lus bi ti . rt of the total number of chutes and 
elevator* or the t :1 loor. 

Ihe sixth floor ie oecupie I purefying 

sifters which separate the 1 purities through 

very fine reel?. Iri addition, there is another tcourer, a 
flour dust collector, a machine for weighing the flour pro- 
duced .and one for ageing the flour by gat. The latter harm- 
lessly bleaches and matures the flour. 

r.-ie seventh floor contains eight square sifters, 
( figure ft) , each one having four compartments. A single 
sifter separates and finishes the flour or feet? taken from 
) an entire row of roller mills on the fourth floor. There are 
also several purefying sifters similar bo those on the floor 

The eighth floor contains a number of duet col- 
lectors. In the large room on the right are the trap doors 
in the tons of the twenty-four different sized storage bin.. 
The bins vary in capacity from 1500 to 5000 bushels of wheat. 
There are other bins for the finished flour to be used by the 
Doughnut Machine Corporation. These bins are on the other side 
of the building. Tney are cylindrical and extend from the fifth 
to the seventh floor:.. The flour is conveyed to them by screw 
conveyors and the same method is use- in bransfering it into 
the machines in the adjacent plant, where the necessary ingred- 
ients for doughnut flour are added and mixed. 



Figure V. 
ir of chutee and 
. ixth i'loor. 


Figure 9. 
View showing end of head race 




figure 10. 
Y i e vv e how ins s pi 1 1 way 




S Keith 

SAow/s7g Loca-/-/bn of 

MY/ 7?^. 

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