The Triton shell is a large marine snail formerly used by millers as a sort of horn to communicate with the village people. The pointed end of the shell used to be cut off and blown into, in trumpet-like fashion. In this way, the miller used to notify the village people that they could bring over their sacks of corn to be milled, or that the flour was ready and could be collected.
A Traditional Cooking Potk/a 'baqra'
This earthenware cooking pot takes the form of a small barrel with a lid and was traditionally used for cooking meat and rabbit stews. It has four short legs in order to be able to stand, together with a zoomorphic head, which made it look like an animal. Its name in Maltese (baqra) actually means ‘cow’, denoting its curious shape.
Container for drying meats
This curious device was created by Zeppu Kola himself – the last miller who lived in this windmill. It was used for drying meats and sausage. It takes the form of a metal cage with small perforations so as to allow the contents to be air-dried. This container would usually be hung to a nail in a cool and dry location.
In past centuries, weaving looms were very common in domestic houses. This traditional trade was essential for many Maltese and Gozitan women, and was used for the production of clothes, blankets, carpets, curtains and bed-linen. The loom produced fabric by interlacing two sets of yarns, often cotton or wool, which crossed each other usually at right angles.
The baby hammock very often consisted of a long piece of linen with a cord passing through its longer sides and attached to two small metal rings fixed in the corner of a room. Two short reeds would be placed across the shorter sides of the hammock so as to keep it open. The hammock would be placed above the main bed so that the mother could rock the baby without the need of getting out of bed. Moreover, the bed would serve as a cushion should the baby accidentally fall out. One could find metal rings in several rooms of the house, so that the mother could heed the baby while doing other chores.
A windmill’s mechanism basically consisted of six large wooden antennae with canvas sails on the outside which would turn the milling mechanism inside the round stone tower. The antennae would turn the main shaft, which in turn rotated a set of gearwheels. The grinding of corn took place between two large and heavy round stones – the runner stone on top, and the nether stone below it, which would be fixed. The rotating surfaces would grind the corn into flour.
The cat’s hole
In older times, people very often kept cats in their dwellings and farmhouses, in order to keep rats and mice at bay, especially where animal feed was stored. Since the miller would have stored considerable amounts of corn, cats would come in very useful. In this building, the ‘cat’s hole’ is found in the door jamb of the kitchen door leading out onto the terrace. This hole allowed cats to enter and exit the building without the need for leaving any open doors. The passage through the wall would never be straight, but often had a kink in the middle.
Hand mills were often used for domestic purposes, and used to grind corn and other cereals in small quantities. The runner stone was turned by hand by means of a handle. During the Second World War, importation of corn in Malta was scarce and Bishop Gonzi had ordered all corn to be collected, milled in households and distributed under strict supervision.
Although blacksmithing was not the miller’s main profession, the forge proved very useful for carrying out repairs on tools and the windmill mechanism itself, which consisted of considerable amounts of metalwork. The miller also undertook repairs for the local farmers, fixing their tools and shoeing their horses and donkeys, which were then the only means of transport.
This is a grinding wheel used for sharpening and polishing tools and knives. It was powered by foot by means of a pedal and is particularly interesting because it was created by Zeppu Kola himself – the last miller who lived here. It is made of recycled pieces of wood and metal. The actual wheel consists of a cartwheel.