Mills in Altoaragón - aceitero


Olsón is easily reached from the main road between L'Ainsa and Barbastro. Turn to Lamata (check the museum out!) in Mesón de Ligüerre de Cinca. Follow the narrow and winding road for quite some time and drop your vehicle at the entrance of the village —or, where there is more space, at the branch to Mondot. Now walk to the right and follow the road which stays level. If there is a choice keep to the left. You'll soon find the mill (1) which, sadly enough, is entirely neglected.

Pictures: 01.XI.2010

aceitero harinero

(1) The oil mill of Olsón.

Time is running out fast for this aceitero: the roof leaks and at places gives an unimpeded view of the skies. Also the back wall (3) is in an alarmingly bad condition. This site is worth to be listed in the Catálogo de Patrimonio Arquitectónico y Etnográfico of Aragón (inclusion on this list means that any measure necessary to its preservation should be taken).
The site is definitely worth preserving though: well equiped, rather big, easily reached and situated in a village with a church declared Cultural Heritage and known as the Cathedral of Sobrarbe.

First thing that stands out when we approach the construction is the huge reservoir (2, 12, 1). Water is an essential good in the extraction process.

(2) Water storage with the press room.
(3) Back wall of the mill with huge holes.

The village is situated high on a hill and water supply must have been a problem. More so be­cause rain was probably the only source. The window (2, 8) is conveniently situated next to the press and made it easy to draw bucket when needed. A beam —in past times surely with a winch— protrudes from the wall just above the window (2).
The mill consists of two sections (1): the highest part (2, 4) houses the press. At the foot of the wall a blind arch is visible. It probably is the top of a former door opening. The level of the road must have been much lower than today; that is also very clear from picture 1. Proceed with caution when you enter because there is quite a difference to bridge (5).

(4) Highest section houses the press.
(5) The entrance.

Inside two main attractions compete for our attention. First the press (7-10): it is a type of an early generation preceding the cast iron types found at some other places in the region. The head in its entirety runs up and down along two huge screws which are mounted in the floor (6).
The head is a wooden block strengthened with metallic strips and carrying several cogged wheels of different sizes (9) in order to obtain a good reduc­tion ratio. The lower part is made wider to give better support for the wooden disk (7) which conveyed the pressure onto the heap of mats.

(6) Press room with containers.
(7) Head of the press.

(8) The press with window looking over the reservoir; notice the handle to switch gears.

(9) Wheel of the press.
(10) Year 1953.
(11) The workfloor.

No company label is attached to the press, but the year 1953 is written on one of the side panels. We've found a similar press in the mill of Mondot and in Troncedo which is also in good shape.

The work floor is a huge mess but several decanter vessels rise above the rubble (6, 11).

The inner side of the front wall is lined with con­tain­ers (13, algorines) for the storage of fresh pro­duce. Almost all the remaining space is taken by the embalse (14): the circular space where the olives where crushed. Notice the iron rods of the guiding system. No trace of a hopper nor a box where the mash was collected (see Mipanas (32)).

(12) Water reservoir.
(13) Storage for olives.

(14) Embalse with ruello where the olives where crushed.

aceitero harinero

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