The development of hand-mills used to grind cereals is surveyed by the study of implement history based on archeological and ethnographic data to follow the changes that have taken place in the structure and use of hand-mills in Central Europe from antiquity to our days. Considering the structural changes that have taken place during the past two thousand years it is possible to speak of several basic types. While the implement with the simple structure used in antiquity has been preserved without any significant alteration up to the present time, the medieval structure has been significantly simplified since the 15th century. The study investigates the relationship between this regression process to the major mills of industrial size of modern times and to the more productive hand-mills of transmission structure which became popular after the 16th century to play important role in the food supply during wars. The transmission type hand-mills are typical implements of modern times. The development of the historical layers of hand-mills and the technical regression of the medieval type of implements are closely linked to the methods of use, to the changes of the raw materials to be processed and finally to the historical development of the culture of nutrition.

How to Cite

Kovács, A. S., (1989) “Querns.”, Ethnologia Europaea 20(1), 35-46. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/ee.1317


Download PDF



Attila Selmeczi Kovács (Ethnographical Museum, Kossuth Lajos)



Publication details



All rights reserved


File Checksums (MD5)

  • PDF: 1fb4784f84ff26b598c312b2987b7bc4