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The old mill

This old mill was in operation until the flood of August 10th, 1951.  It is the only helve-hammer mill in Tessin.  It is one of the stops along the Path of Marvels (Il Sentiero delle Meraviglie).

TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE MILL:   The water coming from the canal pushes the blades of the large wheel (which is two meters in diameter) in a rotatory movement that, by means of the wheel-hub (a chestnut tree trunk with pins) intermittently moves another trunk used as maul at the end of which a hammer is attached.  This trunk beats against an anvil in a rythmical motion that enables the hot iron to be molded.  With this ingenious mechanism a circular movement is transformed into a rectilinear one.  From this movement the definition of a helve-hammer-and-end mill is derived, since it operates thanks to the fulcrum of the hammer.  In this particular mill there is a second mechanical device called "blower", actioned by a the flow of water from a small waterfall that flows into a metalic vat located outside the mill, that takes advantage of the air moved by the falling water, provoking a constant blowing of air on the fire of the forge. 

The irons heated by means of carbon or vegetable carbon, were grasped by pincers and forged by the experts of the mill who knew how to mold them under the heavy and slow beats of the maul.  We wish to remember the heavy and noisy beats caused thanks to the hydraulic force used to mold the iron.  There were other mills in various localities in Tessin, but only their names remain:   Maglio di Colla, the Cà dal ferèe in Arogno, the Mai at Minusio.  The  Mill in Malcantone was restored to its original splendor in 1992.

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