Mills in Altoaragón - aceitero

Trillo

Trillo's mill is most easily reached from the main road between L'Ainsa and Barbastro. Turn left in Mesón de Ligüerre de Cinca to La Fueva and Palo. The road goes up then down into the valley of the Río Cinca and then steeply up again to cross the ridge which borders the Fueva region. Pass the branch where Samper is indicated. Look now for a dyke at the right. At the end of it is a sandy track leading to a flat behind the ridge where you can leave your vehicle. You'll know that you've missed the spot when you are over the top. At the far end of the plateau starts the path leading to the mill. There is a split after the first few meters. Follow the right branch which first stays level and then goes down fast to the Barranco de Salinar de Trillo.

Pictures: 3.VIII.2004 and 8.III.2005

(1) Entrance of the mill (2) Interior, entrance door visible back left.

The mill is built on a terrace at the base of the flat zone. The door is in one of the short sides. Three beams are protruding from the wall and in better times carried a shed. The small square betrays the spot where almost certainly an azulejo was fixed. Probably like the one in Fuendecampo or Nueno (see top). Two bigger stones are fixed above the former shed. A short inscription is spread out over both (pict. 3, 4). It says AÑO DE 1786 HICIERON lo 13 CASAS DE / TRILLO I DN HEM̊SALINAS where
  • DN = Don
  • HM̊ (° hovering above the M) = Hieronimo
Thus In the year 1786 this was built by the 13 families of Trillo and Don Hieronimo Salinas.

  Once you are inside after some negotiations with the door and the vegetation, the huge dimensions of the construction will not fail to impress. Look at pict. 2 to appreciate the sheer size of the press. The head is located next to the entrance (see pict. 5; the same door is visible in both pictures.) and one of the posts supporting the tail is visible at right. It's perhaps a good idea to have a quick look at a press in side-view (see Castilsabás).

The press is placed next to the highest wall. The caracol (giant screw in pict. 7, 8) shows how high the lever could be lifted. Close to the tail of the press was a fireplace to heat water. Pictures 6, 7 and 8 show different parts of the contraption. Someone had taken away the caracol between our two visits. Pitty.

The press is separated from the rest of the building by a thick wall with two arches (pict. 5 & 13). The first arch gives access to the head of the press (5, 6): the place where the caracol was managed to force the lever down. The second arch (13) is located in the middle and gives access to the reservoirs (pilas) with the fresh oil and to the pile of mats with the olive paste.

 
(4) Inscription on façade (5) Interior with head of the press

(6) (7) (8)

Did you notice that some of the columns of the press show a large slit? (See pict. 2 and in Javierre, Lapenilla) Such a feature would be weird for a simple press working around one fixed rotation point. The handling of this type of press is in fact a trifle more complex. Pict. 8 shows the supporting column in the middle. The main beam (viga) is resting on the plank protruding from this pole. The plank is fitted in a slit and could be removed. It's a second pivot! The miller knew which part of his workflow required which point as a pivot.

Our pictures show the viga of the press in the lowest possible position. The caracol of pict. 6 doesn't show any thread below the beam which is resting on the crossbeam of pict. 8. The tail of the press is free (pict. 2).

First the screw (6) is turned to move the head to a high position. The center of the beam necessarily follows and when the beam is at the desired position the slit (8) underneath is closed with crossbeams. The screw (6) is then turned back to bring the head down. Because the pivot is in the middle the tail must go up. Another crossbeam put through the slit above the lever will stop the movement at the top of the tail-slit (2). The cantilever is now at its highest and when the slit below the wood is closed, the pivot at the tail is armed. The seat of the press is now ready to be stacked with a high pile of mats with olive paste. Turning the head a bit higher removes the weight off the planks in the middle (8). They can be taken away. The hinge is now at the tail and while people screw the head down again the pile is compressed and oil expelled.

 
(9) Store-rooms arranged against the wall (10) Store-rooms arranged against the wall

(11) (12) (13)

The far end of the construction is occupied by the mashing unit, the balsa with ruello (9, 14). This is the place where the olives are crushed in preparation of the extraction process.

The device is most interesting because it is driven by waterpower (Yes, the cárcavo is below our feet). The stone is turned around by muscle power in the majority of the mills I've visited. So far I've found a similar device in the mills of Javierre and Santa Eulalia la Mayor only.

Water isn't always a reliable source of energy and therefore a backup system was put in place. Pict. 12 shows a detail of the axis: slip a pole through the hole and you are on manpower.

Most balsas have a flat made of concrete. The rim is low and sometimes made of bricks (e.g. Abizanda, Mipanas). Our edge at hand is much higher and made of flat stones arranged one next to another (15). (See also Sieste.)

 
(14) (15)

 
(16) Año 1802 (17) Año 1933

(18) Año 18010 se hizo el Ruejo (the ruello was made in 1810)

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