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- Date of production 1981 (model), 17th century (original)
- Place of creation Wieliczka, Poland
- Dimensions height: model: 125 x 100 cm, original — height: 8.8 m, length: original — 16.4 m, width: original — 11.5 m
- ID no. MŻKW, model: KMG/17, original: II/147/1-11
- Object copyright Kraków Salt Works Museum in Wieliczka
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska’s Virtual Museums project
Because of the fact that in the salt mines of the Kraków region, i.e. salt mines in Wieliczka and Bochnia, salt lies deep underground, it was excavated through shafts by using the right tools, like devices with a horizontal drive shaft (windlass), handwheels, treadwheels (internal and external), devices with a vertical drive shaft (cross, water-mill), devices with a vertical-horizontal drive shaft (gear mill with a winding reel, gear mill with two winding reels, gear mill with a brake drum) and braking devices.more
Because of the fact that in the salt mines of the Kraków region, i.e. salt mines in Wieliczka and Bochnia, salt lies deep underground, it was excavated through shafts by using the right tools, like devices with a horizontal drive shaft (windlass), handwheels, treadwheels (internal and external), devices with a vertical drive shaft (cross, water-mill), devices with a vertical-horizontal drive shaft (gear mill with a winding reel, gear mill with two winding reels, gear mill with a brake drum) and braking devices.
The said horse mill, the so-called Polish horse mill, with a horizontal windlass, is a faithful copy of the oldest and largest of all the machines in the museum of Wieliczka – the horse-drawn transporting machine. Such devices had been installed over the shafts of the mines in Wieliczka and Bochnia since the mid-15th century. From the 17th century, they had been installed underground, too. They were used in the salt mines of the Kraków region until the 2nd half of the 19th century; however, they were then gradually replaced by more efficient horse mills from Saxony and Hungary.
The presented machine was assembled in 1957 from the parts found near the shafts of Franciszek and Ludowika at the first level and served for the preparation of the model. The missing elements were reconstructed on the basis of iconography. The dimensions of the machine are quite large: length = 16.4 m, width = 11.5 m, height = 8.8 m, and it is constructed from two units linked by means of a wooden gear unit with teeth and staves. The first unit consists of a vertical drive shaft, a gear and four arms. The second one comprises a horizontal drive shaft, a cable drum and a stave wheel. The machine could be blocked by means of a single shoe brake.
Driven by four pairs of horses, the mill could lift loads weighing up to 2 tonnes from a depth not greater than 80 m. The approximate daily performance was 80 tonnes.
Details of the operation of the Polish horse mill:
The driving mechanism consists of two main elements: the driving unit and the pulling unit.
The driving unit is the wooden gear placed on two crossed beams fixed to the vertical drive shaft, which moves within two wooden beds. The lower bed is mounted below the floor (2,940 mm) and fixed with thick beams (400 mm), whereas the upper one is made of beams mounted in the ceiling. The shaft’s ends are toughened by iron rims.
The pulling unit is the horizontal drive shaft with a stave wheel embedded inline on it and a cable drum. The rotational motion coming from the driving unit (turned by horses) is transferred to the pulling unit by means of a gear. The horizontal drive shaft is mounted on two beds. The bed that is closer to the vertical drive shaft is mounted on beams placed in a sidewall, toughened by metal rims, and additionally hung on the line fixed to the ceiling. The drive shaft’s end is toughened with metal rims. The active part of the shaft is additionally strengthened with thick planks with a length of 3,000 mm, width of 120 mm, and a diameter of 1,000 mm. The active part with the rope is located directly over the hole of the mine shaft. The drive shaft’s other end is embedded on the vertical framing beam structure (as beams embedded in the floor), whose height is 3,600 mm.
Precise sizes: diameter of the wheel for fastening T-bars, 10,100 mm; vertical drive shaft’s section, 450 mm; height of the lower bed, 400 mm; vertical wheel diameter, 5,330 mm; width, 910 mm; drive shaft’s length, 8,250 mm; section, 520 mm.
Elaborated by Kraków Salt Works Museum in Wieliczka, © all rights reserved