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Maud Foster Mill, Boston - 1st December 2008

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This photograph shows the mill shortly after a sail broke off during a storm. The cast iron upright is where the sail was attached.

The "spider" mechanism in the centre and the shuttered sail is an invention of windmill design by Sir William Cubitt in 1807, which acted in the same way as Venetian Blinds. The shutters were all linked together by bars which ran the length of each sail and all joined in the centre of the assembly, called the “spider”. A rod was attached to this and passed all the way through the windshaft and appeared at the back of the mill to a chain wheel, where a long, endless, length of chain hung down to the ground (called the striker chain). By pulling on this chain, one could either close the shutters (to “catch” the wind) or open the shutters (to “spill” the wind so the it didn't "race"). Weights are hung from this chain to regulate the flow of wind through the shutters.


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Another fun puzzle, Dave! Thanks for the info!