Mills in Altoaragón - harinero, central eléctrica


Caldearenas is a village in the Alto Gállego region. Coming from the North, head for Sabiñanigo and then Huesca via the Puerto de Monrepos. Just before Hostal de Ipiés, turn right where Orna and Caldearenas are signposted. Follow the local road (with narrow and winding stretches) for quite some time. You'll pass Baranguá, Latrás, Latre and even­tually reach a roundabout where one of the arms will lead you over a medieval bridge and into Caldearenas. You will soon recognize pict. 2. The mill can be visited for a small fee and a very knowledgeable person is available at the site —Spanish only, I'm afraid. But even by looking around without additional elucidation, you will learn plenty of interesting stuff. Make sure you see the installation while it is switched on!

Pictures: 22.VIII.2012

This is an entirely different class of mill than most presented on this site. It is in fact this type of fábrica that meant the end of the small mills serving the lo­cal community. Two important developments ma­de this large scale flour production possible: the arrival of the railway and the invention of the roller mill.
At one time Budapest (Hungary) was the world's leading flour-milling center. The modern system of milling with cylinders originated in this country and for a long time the mills of Hungary led the world in milling science and technique ().

(1) «La Dolores» - Fábrica de harinas sistema Daverio - de Fermin Martinez — front

First seen in Hungary in the first half of the 19th century as a device of avoiding tax on milling stones () it took about 50 years before the use of cylinders became practical after the introduction of chilled-iron rolls instead of rolls from porcelain.

One of the companies who introduced many im­provements to the rolling-mill was Daverio & Cie of Zürich (Switzerland). Already before the first World War Daverio would open branches in Marseille, Paris and Madrid.

Daverio was a leading company until after World War II and was an important —maybe the most important— supplier on the Spanish market. In 1943 more than 26% of the fábricas harineras came from Daverio ().
Daverio's main competitor was Bühler who was also Swiss but tended more towards sligthly smal­ler installations. In Aragón however, Bühler with 29% of the instal­lations was stronger represented than Daverio with only 16%.
Morros(6) from Barcelona was only third in Spain.

(2) The rear repeats the same text with a line added: Fábricas de electricidad y harinas

It was in 1925 that La Dolores was founded thanks to Fermín Martínez Piedrafita. At that time there was no flour mill in the neighbourhood and the mills of Huesca or Ayerbe were too far away to be practi­cal. Caldearenas was also a good spot because it was on the railway between Zaragoza and Canfranc (and France) and there was a station since 1893.
Notice that apart from the name of the investor, also the supplier of the installations is written on the walls. With reason, because Daverio was a pre­mium brand and of the 469 Daverio installations in Spain, 24 were installed in Aragón and only 3 in the province of Huesca (data for 1943 in ). This was something special!

(3) Morros mill (left) with 3 Daverio roller mills

(4) Roller mill of Daverio

(5) Instalación de Fábricas de Harinas
Daverio y Cia.
Zurich (Suiza) - Madrid (Sevilla 5)
(6) Establecimientos Morros S.A., Barcelona
— EMSA —

(7) Amoròs Constructor - Zaragoza
During several decennia the fábrica brought life, jobs and services (e.g. distribution of mail, a tele­graph station) to the village ().

The mill ran for 250 days a year and there were usually two shifts of eight hours. Sometimes there was a night shift also. Each year the mill was down one month for repairs and maintenance.

Although the mill was equiped with the best machi­nery of its time, bigger and more modern instal­lations gradually took over and La Dolores had to close its doors in 1968. Its guardian Fermín Martínez Otín died in 1986.

(8) End of canal with inlet of turbine
The fábrica brought also light to Caldearenas and the neighbouring communities. Old maps of the Instituto Geográfico Nacional (editions of 1935 and 1953) show powerlines from the mill to Latre, Estallo, Aquilué, San Vicente and Serué.

Electricity was only available during the off hours of the mill: i.e. from evening twilight to dawn. During the day all the water was needed to power the mill.

(9) Turbine at the inside of (8)
(10) Belts and wheels behind the scenes

(11) Plansichters: Morros (left) and Daverio (right)

(12) Wheat separator with cyclone
(13) Spiral separator

(14) Bagging machine

 Luis Germán Zubero — 2002 — Harinas de Aragón. Siglo y medio de especialización triguero-harinera en Aragón (1845-2000); HISTORIA AGRARIA. 26; pp. 69-104.

 Shollenberger J. H. — 1937 — Wheat Requirements in Europe (Especially Pertaining to Quality and Type and to Milling and Baking Practices. United States Department of Agriculture. Technical bulletins N°535

 Publius Virgilius Lawson — 1908 — The invention of the Roller Flour Mill. Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin 55; pp. 242-258.

 Fábrica de harinas La Dolores —consulted IV.2017— SIPCA - Sistema de Información del Patrimonio Aragonés:

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