Mills in Alto Aragón - harinero, central eléctrica

Salinas de Jaca

1891
Salinas de Jaca should be on any road map worth the name. From Jaca take the road for Pamplona. Don't cross the bridge in Puente de la Reina de Jaca, but instead drive straight-on towards Ayerbe and Huesca. Continue where Villalangua and then Salinas de Jaca are signposted. You will cross the Río Asabón and then find the mill near the river on your right (1). Walk through the pastures.

The mill was fed water from the Río Asabón.

Pictures: 26.XII.2000, 19.V.2011

(1) Molino Samper with the Sierra de Santa Domingo in the background - 2000

(2) anno 2000
(3) anno 2011

At the time of our first visit in 2000 the construction was securely closed up (2) with a barking dog in­si­de. We couldn't possibly enter. The short wall facing the river was still covered with insulators and old wiring. So though we have no map showing any lines, we knew this mill must have made electricity.

Ten years later the doors were open and the con­struction was in a sorry state with most of the internals demolished (it's the same story every­where: people can't leave things in peace).

The embalse (the lake: 4, 5) is situated level with the mill's roof. In 2000 already trees had almost colonized two thirths of the original volume of the lake.

The canal is substituted by a tube (8) running inside the former. That was probably a good way to reduce maintenance on a long supply channel bringing the water from very far and from the other side of the road. Other mills with a tubed canal are e.g. Yeste and Naval.

(4) mill with embalse (right) - 2011
(5) embalse level with the roof - 2000

(6) The workplace of the harinero

(7) A stone from La Ferté sous Jouarre
The entrance door opens to a workplace (6) with a layout which is familiar from visits to other mills. We recognize a couple of stones, a crane and a con­traption to filter unwanted particles from the grain.

The stone is from France: around the eye we read

 La Ferté - sous - Jouarre 
 Société Générale Meulière 

Other French stones are found in e.g. Paternoy, Cortillas and Alquézar. The cavity is filled with pieces coming from the electricity part of the building.

(8) Tube bringing the water
(9) Turbine; stripped switch board
(10) Some insulators; switches

(11) Turbine
(12) Maquinaria y Metalurgia Aragonesa
Zaragoza - Utebo

From the harinero a door leads to a much smaller separate space: the former electricity business of the site. There isn't much left. The switchboard (9) is empty and the generators are removed.

The turbine is still at its place (11) and had a double purpose. To move both the mill stones and the generators. Via cog wheels mounted on an axle through the wall (11 right) for the mill and using a belt (left) for the dynamos.

The turbine (12) is labeled

N°121
Maquinaria y Metalurgia Aragonesa
Zaragoza - Utebo

A turbine of the same brand was found in Aguinalíu.
Maquinaria y Metalurgia Aragonesa S.A. was foun­ded in 1902 by Carlos Mendizábal Brunet who lead the company from the start to 1908. The company took a huge interest in the well-being of its workers. In 1910 already they provided medical and pharma­ceutical assistance; in 1918 a dining hall and in 1920 a primary school was installed with teachers of both sexes!

MMA specialized in turbines and was at its height in the 1930s having about 250 people. They sold 138 turbines during that decade. Averly counted only 70 workers at that time (Found a turbine in Fiscal).

Maquinaria y Metalurgia Aragonesa managed to survive way into the 20st century and was closed down in 1981 (allegedly because of mediocre management).


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