Sifting the ground meal is done with a Bernard & Lees Bran Duster that has been modified to screen for Corn Meal and Grits. This particular equipment was originally acquired during the 1892 expansion of the mill. After Britain Mill ceased commercial operations late in the 1940’s it was transferred to Silverton mill, near Phillipsburg, MO. It became available when I-44 was being built in the 1970’s, which caused that mill to be razed. Bill Cameron brought it back to Britain Mill after being exiled for many years.
In the below image, the red grinder is behind the elevator, which is transferring the ground meal to the B&L sifter on the right.
The innards of this machine is shown disassembled.
The meal flows into a rotating tapered wire basket which is fitted with two different size mesh screens. As the meal is gravity-fed through the basket, the finer material drops through a slot in the bottom and is collected as corn meal in a metal tray. The next section with larger screen grid drops grits into a second metal tray. The balance of the material exits the right end, collected in a third tray as “middlins”.
Grits are then further processed with a Separator using a design philosophy, called “Makin’ Do”. The separator uses a air flow, produced by an ancient electric fan, to separate the fine particles of bran from the creamier grits.
The sifted grits are poured into the hopper on top, falling through a slot. The air flow blows the light-weight material past the collection box, shown pulled out. The heavier grits fall into the box. The rest is collected underneath, while the air flow escapes through the screen.