The use of water- and wind power is the oldest industrial enterprises in the world; however, the exploring of continuous energy still has significant meaning today.
The first mills were operated by means of hydropower. Unfortunately, falling water levels in streams and little rivers meant that small mills were forced to close. However, windmills were often built next to the large water mills in order to supplement them when there was not enough water. This is visible at the last of the original 10 watermills on the island Als - Vibæk.
The mills are usually built of wood, which is why fires pose a threat to them. When a storm is approaching, the miller must make sure that the wings are secured so the mill will not get out of control.
In 1913 the miller at Hedemølle mill at Mommark had to tell the peasants to bring all their corn to stop the mill from getting too hot and catching fire. After three days, the wind abated and the mill could be stopped.
Building a mill was expensive so it was often the king or a duke who paid for the construction. Then a miller leased the mill. The mills’ economy was ensured by forcing the peasants to deliver their corn to a specific mill.
The peasants paid a duty in the shape of corn to the miller; this was called ‘mill duty.’ The miller paid a mill tax to the fiefdom or the king.