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QR Manglieu 7

Joseph, the miller

Supplied by the waters of the Ailloux and Crinzoux rivers, the commune had 17 mills at the beginning of the 19th century. At that time, the miller was the commonest profession in Manglieu after the farmer. Every peasant family relied on them to grind their grain. Bread, made from wheat, rye or meslin, was the staple diet at the time. It was baked in the oven in the hamlet or on the farm, or by the baker to whom the flour or dough had to be supplied.
Joseph was born in 1905 in Saint-Gènes-la-Tourette, around twenty kilometres from Manglieu, into a family of millers. When he married Augustine, the daughter of one of Manglieu’s millers, his future was set. He would work at the Ribeyre mill for the rest of his life, first alongside his father-in-law, then independently. The wheel of this mill turned until the 1960s.
Water-powered mills, used for a wide range of purposes, underwent steady progress between the Middle Ages and the early 20th century, constantly improving their efficiency. From the end of the 19th century, the steam engine and then the electric motor gradually replaced the waterwheel. The following century, the creation of large flour mills was the beginning of the gradual disappearance of family mills.

Image captions

  • Paul Bouchiche, Manglieu’s last miller, photographed in 1969.
  • On the left, Augustine with her parents at the Ribeyre mill.


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