Hi Richard,

Currently a large 24 x 24 purpleheart vertical shaft is employed to bring power down the tower from the sails to the horizontal cane crushing rollers. A very long time ago these rollers were mounted vertically and were set in groups of three ? What this means is that the cane was fed through the first set of rollers and then a couple of ladies on the receiving side would take the partially crushed cane and turn this about and feed it back through the second set of rollers. In time this process was automated by insertion of a "dumb lady" plate which automatically received and re-fed the cane back through the second set of rollers. The reason the "dumb lady" name was given to the plate is thought to derive from the practice by the original ladies of chattering as the mill crushed the cane and when replaced by the plate the mill effectively then fell silent. There are no known working examples of these vertical rollers still in exisitance today or so we thought until passing by a cricket pitch one day where we noted a large iron cylinder roller being used to flatten the pitch. This roller had axial grooves cut along the outside of the hollow roll. Closer inspection revealed that this was indeed part of an old vertical roll setup which demonstrated that the rolls were made up from multiple sections stacked one on top of the other and slid over the outside of a large turned wooden post - not dissimilar to the ones recently posted on this website.

Seems that recycling is not a new concept. Sweet !


Ken Hume

Looking back to see the way ahead !