Mills in Alto Aragón - harinero


Paternoy is an abandoned village and quite remote, but with a rather good connection to the outside world. From Jaca take the main road to Pamplona. Do not cross the bridge at Puente la Reina (de Jaca!) but instead straight-on towards Huesca via the Puerto de Santa Barbara. In the descent after the puerto You'll find Longás signposted to the right and a while further down a bigger green panel with Hoya the Huesca. At that spot at your left hand side a gravel road runs into the hills. The track is negotiable with a normal car but there are some difficult spots. It may be a good idea to drop your vehicle somewhere near the beginning and walk the track to Paternoy (6 km).

Pictures: 19.v.2011

(1) Dam on the Barranco de Paternoy
Do not enter Paternoy but, at the first houses, walk the path to the right down the slope towards the Barranco de Paternoy and then follow the water to the south. The dam (1) is located about half a kilo­meter from the village. You'll emerge at the left side of the picture.
The dam is a nice piece of work making good use of the local situation. On a solid base of natural rock (2) a wall is built which spans the whole riverbed. A huge lake has formed but is now overgrown with reed. Soon trees will invade the space.

(2) Dam built on natural rock
The tap is at the left bank (2). Where needed the channel is supported by carefully laid out stones (2). The canal runs for about 300m and is then brutally severed by a new service track just before it opens in a second lake (3) surrounded by earthen walls. These reach to the second floor of the mill: try to spot the person in pict. 5.

The lake rests against one of the long walls of the mill (4). Thick walls of masonry topped with some concrete form the drain towards the cárcavo (7).

(3) Lake next to the mill

(5) South face with entrance
(6) West face with drain

The outer walls of the construction at the time of our visit stood still strong, but it's clear that this mill's time is running out because of the roof showing the first leaks.
The entire first floor is dedicated to the milling operation. The floor closest to the door is free of any machinery and probably served as temporary storage and reception and exchange room (11).

(9) Cruz in Humo de Muro

(10) Farinal, crane with stones and dust cover.
(11) Crane with French stone from La Ferté

The stones are located in the next third (10). They receive light through the one window in the opposite wall: that is the usual layout (e.g. Bara). Most of the things too heavy to be carried away are taken apart (why must people always demolish things?).

First there is a farinal with a cruz mounted in one of the corners (10). The fresh flour was collected in this wooden box and sacks to be filled where held open by the cruz. Pict 9 shows a nice specimen of this device found in the mill of Humo de Muro.

The dust cover is octogonal (10 background). The stones are French from La Ferté (11). Notice also the three small containers needed to balance the stone and on the side between the clamping rings the small holes (10 and 11) for the crane. The central opening is encircled by the text

 *** Alexandre Fauqueux & Cie *** 
 La Ferté s/ Jouarre (France) 

(12) Seal of the Société Générale Meulière
The stone carries a huge seal (12). The center is a mill stone labeled S.G.M. or Société Générale Meulière. Above the stone come the arms of the city of La Ferté with the lions and below the stone comes the text Marque De Fabrique Déposée.

The Société Générale Meulière was created between 7 founding members in 1881. Alexandre Fauqueux joined only in 1884 and there were some quarrels with S.G.M. and Dupety-Orsel (the main competitor of S.G.M.) about the perceived quality of each make of stone.

Other French stones are found in e.g. Cortillas, Sarvisé, Alquézar, and Broto. In Alquézar and Broto a couple coming from Dupety-Orsel (or the Grande Société Meulière, G.S.M.) was running. We have also a page dedicated to the birth­places of the stones: La Ferté sous Jouarre and Epernon.

On the wall next to the stone is an engraving in the cement. It says Año 1935.

(13) Corn sifter
The back of the room (13) is occupied by stairs to the second floor. A fanning mill used to clean the grain is placed next to the stairs. A rough-and-ready system was set up. A ribbon runs over a belt wheel below the win­dow (10). This wheel is fitted to an axle crossing the space just above the floor like a tripping wire (8). A couple of cog-wheels then tap into the milling system.

The cárcavo is choked with silt. The botana (nozzle in cement) with valve and all the control rods are in good shape. I presume there is also a wheel below the surface.

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