A recent family outing to an old, but operating, water-powered grist mill made for a great Geek outing. Geekery didn’t start with computers or even electricity. You can find proof of that inside these old mills, which have got enough gears, belts and levers to make a Lego Technics builder swoon. And they really work — turning huge stones and spitting out various grain products. Add in the flumes and mill race which carry the water and you’ve got great Geeklet-appeal.
Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia has been photographed by trillions of tourists, but if they would just zoom in a bit they’d get a keepsake photo of a gorgeous gear ratio:
I was delighted when my 3-year-old geeklet included the little wheel in his drawing of the mill:
The visit inspired a waterwheel in the back yard. The dream, of course, is a big wheel capable of turning a little generator and lighting an LED or two. In the meantime:
Depending on the age of your Geeklets, you might want to follow up with Richard Scarry’s “What do People Do All Day” (a must-have book for any young Geeklet) or Howell and Keller’s “The Mill,” a hardcore look at how it all works….