Dutch mill, Jankowo Dolne
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The tower mill (also known as the Dutch mill) in Jankowo Dolne is a truly unique industrial monument of this type, having few direct counterparts in Greater Poland. The very first Dutch mills were built in this area back in the 18th century. Perceived as a foreign invention, these mills accounted for a mere 3% of all the windmills built in the area, with paltrok mills and post mills being the most popular due to their simpler, albeit less durable, wooden structure.

The windmill in Jankowo Dolne has not survived unscathed, with only the brick tower remaining. The rotating upper part (known as the cap) and its sails have not survived to the present day.

Other Dutch-style tower mills in Greater Poland have been preserved in Bracholin, Dzierzążenko near Złotów, Pyzdry and Rogierówko. A windmill which has been relocated from Trzuskołoń can be found in the Greater Poland Ethnographic Park in Lednogóra.

History

The oldest mention of the existence of a windmill in Greater Poland dates back to 1303 and concerns the post mill that had once stood in Kobylin (Krotoszyn district). The post mill is the simplest type of windmill, its structure being based on an immovable post. The mill is propelled by the sails which set the shaft into motion; the shaft, in turn, powers another, upright shaft made of wood or metal, positioned perpendicularly to the windshaft by means of two meshed cogwheels (or a cogwheel and lantern wheel). When in motion, the upright shaft imparts movement to the integrated spindle. The grains were ground using a millstones (in most cases, the number of millstones used was two). Millstones were mostly made of sandstone. In the 18th century, in addition to large millstones, smaller units were used to produce porridge.

The post mill was the most popular type of windmill in Greater Poland. In the mid- 19th century, there were nearly 2700 windmills in the region; by 1955, that number had dwindled to 440. Today, there are even fewer of them left. In the 20th century, installation of internal combustion engines inside windmills became a popular practice. The largest concentration of windmills (mostly post mills) in Greater Poland can be found near Osieczna, Śmigiel and Leszno.

In the mid- 19th century, a new type of wooden windmill appeared - he paltrok mill. In a paltrok mill, the entire mechanism rests upon a wooden floor supported by metal rollers positioned on a rim bearing set atop brick and stone foundations. The entire windmill rotates on the bearing depending on the direction of the wind. This type of structure protects the paltrok mill from being overturned by strong winds, which was often the case with post mills.

The most durable type of windmill was the Dutch tower mill. The first Dutch mills in Greater Poland began to appear towards the end of the 18th century, gaining popularity after 1820. Still, in 1873, a mere 73 windmills out of 2700 in the region were Dutch mills. This was partially due to the relatively high cost of construction as well as to the fact that these windmills were used by German colonists, which made the local peasants treat them as an invention that was alien in cultural terms. Furthermore, the wooden post mills could be easily moved from one location to another, which was a common practice back then.

The Dutch mill in Jankowo Dolne was erected in 1896. Its first owner was one Mr Borowiak, who later sold it to Mr Michał Slugajski, who owned it until 1955, when the windmill, was acquired by the State Mill Company. In 1975, the cap which covered the brick and stone structure collapsed. In the 1980s, the mill became private property once again.

Description

The Dutch windmill in Jankowo Dolne is located on a hill in the eastern part of the village, on the northern side of the district road and the western national road no. 15. On the northern side thereof, on the same site, there is an old tavern. The windmill is surrounded by fields and meadows from the north, the east and the west, with neighbouring buildings being located south of the mill.

The windmill in Jankowo Dolne has not survived to the present day unscathed, with only the brick tower remaining. The windmill was erected on a circular floor plan with a 6.5 metre diameter. The windmill tower is made of brick and stands upon a field stone foundation and a brick wall base. The exterior walls feature exposed brickwork, with plaster only being used for the interiors. The body of the building has a shape approximating that of a cone; the tip of the cone - initially a structure called the cap, i.e. a rotating roof with sails - did not survive to the present day. The façades follow a three-storey layout and are divided by string courses; a number of rectangular, segment-headed windows pierce the façades, positioned symmetrically on the upper storeys. Rectangular doorways can be found in the ground floor section, on the southern and northern sides of the tower. A plaque bearing the date of construction of the windmill - 1896 - is affixed to the wall on the top storey.

The rotating cap with sails which originally crowned the structure has not survived; nor did the ceilings of individual floors or the internal mechanism which allowed the top section to rotate.

Limited access to the site. The windmill is located on private property. It is clearly visible from the road which leads up to it.

compiled by Anna Dyszkant, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 21-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Jankowski J., Wiatraki wielkopolski, Leszno 2006.
  • Święch J., Tajemniczy świat wiatraków, Łódź 2005.
  • Zbierski H., O śmigielskich wiatrakach, cechach i organizacjach rzemieślniczych (od tworzenia cechów do 1945 r.), Śmigiel 2006.

General information

  • Type: windmill
  • Chronology: 1896 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Jankowo Dolne 14
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district gnieźnieński, commune Gniezno
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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