Our former article covered the beginning of the industrial revolution, the initial stages of development of machining devices, and specifically – what was probably the first lathe.
And now, what about the first milling machine?
We may never know the full details of the development of milling machines, although the general story is known.
The word “milling” also means “grinding” (such as grinding wheat into flour). Originally, the word was used to describe the action of processing materials by filing or scraping them somehow (including cutting, polishing, crushing, etc.).
As early as around 1760, a filing machine with a turning head was invented. However, a milling machine as a separate kind of processing device was first used between 1814 and 1818.
Milling machines were mainly developed at US federal armories as well as a number of private armories. There was frequent turnover of skilled professionals between these armories, and therefore historians seem to have somewhat different opinions as to who was the first to construct the first actual milling machine. However, we know this occurred in the beginning of the 19th century – around 1818.
One of the candidates for the title of the inventor of the first milling machine was an American inventor and industrialist by the name of Eli Whitney (1765-1825).