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28 giugno 2016

Oil Production

The Colombo mill became a press in 1871 and, from that time, it treats oily seeds for the production of oil for an industrial and alimentary use.
The seeds treated around 1927 were principally flax; from 1937 and during the Second World War, almond and germs of wheat were added to the mix.
The first floor was a store for various types of seeds that were thrown in piles directly on the wooden pavement because the jute sacks had to be given back to the transporter.
The processing began on the second floor by putting the seeds with a shovel on a strap of pocket transmission, which carried them in the hopper (today lying on the ground floor). This with a horizontal movement separated the seeds from impurities called “bruscaglie” before they were thrown in the shredder underneath.
The ground material finished in a large chest funnel-shaped and from here in the shredder on the ground floor, where the real production started. The two rolls shredder was principally used for the linus seeds which, reduced to flour, were directly carried in the store or placed in sacks.
If instead owners wanted to extract oil, the seeds were directly put in the fixed hopper and from here poured in the basin, where a big wheel, the “molazza” or “rudun”, reduced the seeds in a hard and oily dough. When the crushing with the millstone was finished, the dough was transferred with a two handles tin in the oven. It was mostly fed by grape seeds and wood collected on the enclosure on the Lambro, dried and conserved in a space under the staircase. The upper part of the oven is made of a basin in metal set in the structure in masonry. Inside this basin a two screw iron shovel is plunged to the mix, during the heating, the seeds are ground to prevent that they stick on the bottom.
The heated material ready to be pressed was put into the press, alternated with disks of cast iron and jute, in the grilled cylinder. The pressure, in order to let the press work, was supplied by the water pump. The lower plate picked up the oil which, through the drip pan on the back, was poured in a container and so decanted into the fixed bin of gathering. The oil was carried to the refinery if it had to be used for alimentary purposes, or sold directly to the client if it had to be used for industry (paints, plaster, etc.).

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