From its 19 meters, the Epinay windmill is probably one of the few tower mills to have followed all the technical developments of its time :

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Its fantail

This english invention is very rare in France, it was installed on the mill in 1928. It turns the cap automatically to bring it into the wind. With a diameter of 3 meters and 6 blades, this “small wheel” allows the roof to rotate.

His wings “Berton” wood.

When built in 1822, the Epinay windmill (which was much smaller than today) had a canvas canopy system. The miller, like a sailor on his yacht, had to deploy the sails  by climbing them before working at the mill. It was a task that requires a lot of effort, time and risk taking.

It was after the French Revolution that we realised the productivity of the french mills was low. A former blacksmith, Pierre Theophilius Berton, was asked to work on the mills and invented an adjustable wing system. These wings are made of Oregon pine boards. These boards are adjustable from inside the mill through a system of rods. Berton filed a patent in 1841 and moved to Anjou in 1852. Miller could now, from inside the mill, increase or decrease the surface of the wings, in the wind, just using strings. In 1860, the Epinay miller wanted to improve its production capacity, he raised his mill with two floors and made Berton install this system for better wind resistance.

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Its excellent meal wheels.

Today only one pair of wheels is operating in the Epinay windmill to crush buckwheat (or black wheat) and wheat. Our visitors can buy in our store of the authentic meal wheels. We also provide flour to some restaurants and schools in the area.

The Epinay Windmill history

1822 Construction of the windmill.
Vers 1860 Installation of the « Berton » system. Wings opening and closing system.
1925 Installation of a diesel engine.
1928 Installation of the butterfly (orientation system).
1936 Remplacement of the diesel engine by an electric engine.
1947 Wings are not turning anymore.
1970 The last miller Elie Châtaigner retires. The windmill stops its activity during 15 years.
1985 The town of La Chapelle Saint Florent buys the windmill in ordrer to restor it.
1987 Roofing and wings restoration.
1989 Restoration of the inside mecanisms.
19/09/1989 Inauguration and opening to public visits.
1993 Restoration of associated arears (museum, restaurant, etc).
1998 Animations for schools.
2009 Opening of a new museum area.
2013 Renovation of the first museum area.