20 November 2016

Borlova Washing Mill and Whirlpool, Caraș Severin County

As integrated parts of the domestic textile industry, washing mills are part of the rural mechanisms collection the museum has on display. Entirely wood-made and water-run, these constructions would fan out along the river banks in mountain and hill regions. These mills can be traced back to ancient times and feature similar mechanical elements to the initial prototypes. A proper environment for these installations would require a generous and constant water flow as safe from freezing as possible, hardwood (oak, beech, alder) and wool processing materials (baize, trousers, coats, blankets, rugs, covers, etc.) availability.

Built at the turn of the 20th century, the washing mill and whirlpool (wooden basket) originate from Borlova village, Caraș Severin County.

Representative for the submontane sector of the Banat region, particularly the river banks of Cernea and Timiș, as well as Ținutul Pădurenilor in Hunedoara County and a part of Hațeg, the washing mill is part of a distinct typology which features vertically-suspended and operating hammers. The mechanism contains a 12-bucket wooden wheel, the horizontal axle and two hammers. The construction is timber-made and features a shingle-covered hip roof.

The frustum-shaped basket is an integrated element of the washing mill and is grounded wide side up. The basket is crafted in wooden planks fitted on the inside of two circular bindings made from felloes as follows: one resting low, towards the smaller base, the other adjacent to the larger base. The water flows at a high speed along a superior-placed chute, transmitting the textiles inside a spinning motion. This process can be considered similar to modern-day washing machine technology.