Windmill of Pabazhu

History – The windmill was erected in the middle of the 19th century in Pabaži parish, around 60 km north to Riga in Vidzeme region of Latvia. In 1936, the windmill was equipped with an auxillary combustion engine, so that it could be operated not only by wind, but also by fuel. In 1963 the mill stopped working, and the building was dismantled and transported in pieces to the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum, near Riga. Pabazi windmill is an example of a special type of windmill, called a “Paltrock”. It first appeared in the 17th century, predominantly in Germany and in the Netherlands. The name refers to a woman costume, a long skirt called Pfalzrock (~ Pfalz skirt),characteristic of the Pfalz region of Germany. The definition simply comes from the similiarity between the shape of this windmill type to a long skirt.

Structure – The windmill itself is a timber-frame construction with traditional carpentry joints which were later strenghtened by steel bolts. The timber species used in the windmill construction include conifers (pine and spruce) for the frame and casing, maple for cogwheels and oak for the main shaft. To boost the efficiency of the grinding mill stones it is important for a windmill to have the ability to turn the sails right against the wind independently to the exact direction of the airflow. The whole of the three-storied, weatherborded square millhouse could be turned in to optimise the wind efficiancy by rolling on a stone base turning on a stone conic foundation.

Windmill Types – The Paltrok type mill is considered to be a refinement of a more ancient European windmill type, the Post Mill. Both structures can be turned into the wind by rotation of the complete millhouse, unlike more sophisticated, later types, such as smock and tower mills, the sails of which only rotate together with a much smaller top cap. Whilst in the case of Post Mills the millhouse is only supported on a central post, (the top of which is the pivot for the rotation), in the Paltrok type the house is further supported around the rim by cylindrical wooden bearings rotating between two wooden rings. This feature made it possible to use a shorter a central supporting post, as it did not have to reach the centre of gravity by all means anymore. This solution provided extra space within the mill house and the possibility to develop an additional floor and insert an extra milling gear. The added lantern gear equipped on a vertical shaft then made it possible to house paralelly operating axes, so the Paltrok mills could work with multiple sets (in pairs) of millstones instead of just one. The opportunity for increased productivity meant that many simple Post Mills were later converted to the Paltrok type. The Pabaži windmill has two sets of millstones: one is for milling flour; the other is equipped with a table with a movable sieve and desicated to the production of groats.

Latvian Windmill
Windmill gear wheel and rim brake