The mills in the area of Babtai before the end of the 1940s

Eligijus Juvencijus Morkūnas, Gražina Teodora Morkūnienė

The water, wind, steam and motor mills in the area of Babtai have been discussed, with examination of mill projects, their implementation, construction methods, polution, sanitary, work safety and development of mills.

The key attention was paid to technological solutions instead of economic indices. The oldest information about the 18th century water mills are related to the manors. The dams for water mills, which reached the 20th century, on the Nevėžis River were simple, the capacity of mills was low, but it satisfied the demands of economy in the Babtai area of that time. Technical progress was making its way in milling sphere as well; already before the WWI the water wheels began to be replaced by turbines, later some other innovations were introduced, such as steam machines and internal combustion engines. Some mills were use in combination with other businesses: saw-mills or fulling-mills. Of more than 20 mills reviewed by us, the remains of three ones can still be seen in Vandžiogala, Maleikoniai and Stabaunyčius, but only the traces of their equipment remained. The stock of this equipment is rather small. The components in new mill projects are drawn schematically, materials are not indicated in detail.

The internal combustion engines pushed out the steam engines in the flour mills, but the later remained in the saw-mills. Since locomobiles are fire-risk equipment, this factor was used in rival battles, which had not been severe, but there was an economic fight. The government was interested in cost-effective operation of production means. With war threat increasing, there were efforts made to avoid dependence on fuel import.

In 1918, when Lithuania restored its independence from Russia, business licenses for mills used to be given easily. Later the requirements were becoming more strict, as a rule, so that it were useful for clients and mill workers. The mill business period ended with the sovietisation of the agriculture in Lithuania and formation of kolkhozes and sovkhozes.