The mills in the environs of Gruzdžiai in the 19th c. and the first half of the 20th c.
Eligijus Juvencijus Morkūnas
The mills in the area of Gruzdžiai observed old traditions. The milling in the area was launched due to the economic activities of Antanas Tyzenhauzas, who initiated the construction of the first post-windmill in Gruzdžiai and water mill in Beržėnai. The windmills dominated in this area. Due to level forested landscape they used to be erected on a high base. The system of mill rotation with a pole is rather archaic within the Lithuanian area.
At the end of the 19th c. and beginning of the 20th c., the windmills started to be rotated by steam engine and a bit later motor mills appeared. The construction of mills is closely related to the lumbering and sawmills.
It should be noted that the use of some type of motors was related to the periods of economic crises, when people were oriented towards the local fuel. In a time span between the two world wars, the designing and construction of mills took place under safety requirements (fire, environmental, sanitary, hygiene, work safety) getting stricter. Updating of enginery and introduction of more sophisticated technologies was common. The equipment and its parts for mills were available in the nearby town of Šiauliai.
The mills in the area of Gruzdžiai were mainly designed by the engineering enterprises in Šiauliai. The mills affected greatly the development of wood processing as well as wool industries.
Nearly all mills lost their role in Soviet times, when they were nationalised and collective (kolkhoz) and state (sovkhoz) farms were established.
The protection of mills as a culture heritage is formalised now.