Ráckeve Boat Mill

Boat mills, also known as ship mills are special watermills. Traditional watermills were usually built at streams or smaller rivers where the variability of water flow could be managed by building dams and sluices to form a reservoir (mill pond). The reservoir and sluice gates provide regulated water flow for safe operation of the watermill most of the year. This was not possible at big rivers like the Danube, where water level could change 7-10 metres during the year, so a fixed watermill on the river bank would be useless most of the year.

Boat mills were very common on Tisza and Danube rivers in the 19th century. In 1863 4,301 boat mills, 9,173 stream mills, 475 windmills and 147 steam mills were operating in Hungary (not including Transylvania, Slavonia, Croatia).

Several boat mills were working on the Danube at Ráckeve as well, where the last ship mill of Hungary sank during the hard winter of 1968, when the ice broke the houseboat with the milling equipment. In 2006 the Municipality of Ráckeve initiated the idea of rebuilding the boat mill, and enthusiastic local residents, workers, entrepreneurs prepared a full-functional replica of the float mill based on written records, photos and drawings.


Copyright ©: Text and photos by Károly Teleki Industrial Heritage Hungary

Source: 1) Boat Mill of Ráckeve. hajomalom.rackeve.hu , 2015 2) Gőzmalmok a Duna partján. Klement Judit (szerző). Holnap Kiadó, 2010