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the history of the white art

Human culture, the technique of the grinding and the consumption of cereal have been tightly connected since the beginning of the problem of nutrition.
“And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” (Genesi 1, 29).
The biblical evidence is confirmed by the same scientist Charles Darwin according to which plants are the most ancient means of nutrition more so than that of meat which has never been the main form of nutrients.
Primitive man has been familiar with tools for grinding grain due to the fact that they had such strong jaws that they could even crack nuts. It was not until later, when they had the strength of receding jaws and an increase of intelligence that man could connect stones for the purpose of grinding grain.
The first precise news refers back to the Sumeri, a population that first appeared in history approximately 4.000 a. C. .
In their city, the temple, that was always near the royal palace, acted as a deposit for the wheat harvest and the High Priest was the custodian.
The first prehistoric hand mills consisted of a rock plate with strong resistance on which a handful of wheat was spread each time. The kernels were ground with another hard rock, focaia, of a round and flat shape.
In time, from the first stones one passed onto the rudiment mortar composed of a trough and of a pestle, a system which is still used in Africa and by the primitive population.
The system, in truth, was grossly improved by the Egyptians who started to repeat on a container which was low and cylindrical, the bigger lumps, in order to reduce them and to be able to use the product as it is obtained even for children.
In any case, the first attempt to take advantage of the rotating movement of two overlapping circular stones of 30 cm , called springs, was created by the Greeks in 3000 a. C. .
It was not until the Roman nobles when one can speak of the true and real handcrafted technique of the “milling activity”.
With the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans, the mills were moved mainly by animals, but also by slaves, poor citizens, condemned delinquents.
The mills ran by water were an invention from the orient basin of the Mediterranean, their existence re-appears in the first century a. C. . During the time of Ottaviano Augusto, the same, as Plinio announced, they were widely constructed in Rome taking advantage of the streams and the flowing water.
In the III e IV centuries d. C. , there were, therefore, three types of mills: hand-drawn mills( molae manuarie), mills powered by animals (molae iumentariae) and hydro-powered mills (molae acquariae).
Even Leonardo da Vinci, a vegetarian, studied the hydro-powered mills in detail.
Almost all of the mills with a seed hopper, at the end of the XVIII century, were hydro-powered, except for the Dutch ones of which the vanes of the wheels were powered by the wind.
In the first half of the XIX century, the optimum of the technique conjunctions appeared in regards to the material of mills and obtained the maximum results with grindstones for the stone mills.
Among the innovations introduced, to highlight one is the duty of the quartz grindstone which was harder and more capable of holding the increased capacity of the rotation, which the construction was partly in cast iron and steel instead of wood, used with alternative energy such as steam and electricity.
The passage of the stone grinds to the cylinder mills, in the XIX century, occurs thanks to the invention of the steam engine and to the discovery of electricity.
The cereal is not crushed and “confricato”, but it is sent through a series of rotating cylinders of hard cast iron. Only in such a way can a more refined product result, thus reducing the overheating of the flour and in consequence, their deterioration.
Today, in the nutritional industry, this means the entire implant of transformation from wheat to sifters.
Having said this, it is interesting to note that there were three people that could and can wear the white coat: the priests, doctors and the millers. The latter are considered as almost inventing sorcerers because of their capacity to take advantage of the exceptional natural resources.


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