Horse-powered grain mill

Earlier this week we heard from a reader who visited the Unity, Maine Amish community.  We learned about the Kenneth and Katie Copp family, who run a pair of businesses, the Living Grains Bakery and Locust Grove Woodworks.

In the video below Kenneth gives a brief tour of the workings of his horse-powered mill which produces the flour used in Living Grains.  You’ve also got a view of the woodworking shop. Here’s a description of the setup from a story on the Copps (removed):

The woodshop obtains its power through a system Kenneth calls a “horse-power unit.” The unit consists of a gear that once turned the large drum on a cement truck and is now fashioned to a long shaft rigged up to a set of pulleys (one large and one small). Kenneth’s draft horses are hitched to the drum and, on voice command, begin to walk in a slow, steady circle.

The two horses walk at an average rate of three revolutions per minute (rpm). The horse-power unit transfers the horses’ actual rpm at a ratio of 100 to 1, allowing the shaft to operate at 300 rpm. “The pulley system increases the speed further, much like a bicycle,” said Kenneth, noting the final transfer of rpm from his horses to the woodshop at 7,000 rpm.

Using the horse-power unit and a system of continuously running belts, Kenneth can operate a number of standard woodworking power tools. His shop contains, among other tools, a modern band saw and planer, and even a vacuum dust collection system. The horse-power unit when powered down, again through a pulley system, can also drive their grain grinder.

Using horses to generate power in this way is not typical for most Amish, but Unity is not a typical Amish community.  You may also recall the mule-powered washing machine we recently saw used by a Mennonite group in Missouri.

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    1. horse power

      That horse power was fun to see. There is a lot of technology being used there to transfer the horse power to useable power. A lot of shafts and belts to accomplish what they want to do. Thanks for showing us the process.

    2. Naomi Wilson

      Horse power

      Last summer we attended a festival in Lancaster, and a horse powered treadmill was on display. It was being used to power the ice cream maker. I wonder if, as the price of fossil fuels continues to increase, more Amish will be experimenting with ways of harnessing original horse power in their businesses.

    3. Tom

      That was great! His shop was about the same as many that I have been in, but the Amish I know use an engine to power their long shaft. It is interesting to see an Amish person in a video. Sure shows that Amish can differ from each other.

    4. Joan Sheldon

      horse power

      A comment to Tom- Kenneth Copp was raised Mennonite so is not quite so shy about pictures as most Amish.
      I have been to their home and shop a number of times. Kenneth does very nice woodworking, and Katie makes delicious bakery items. I am lucky to have them for friends.

    5. horse power

      I’m surprised that PETA and HSUS haven’t taken up the issue of horses being used in this manner as “inhumane.”

    6. Robin Wyatt

      horse Power

      You know Carol I was thinking the same thing. I don’t believe in any type of animal abuse. But Horses where used as work animals along with oxen years ago. And if they are well taken care of and treated right there shouldn’t be any problem. How do these PETA AND HSUS people think farmers did the reaping sowing ect back in the early times. People need to get a grip.


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