– As important as it is to be able to harness the power of the wind, it is equally important to be able to stop the mill when necessary. The braking system utilizes two large brake blocks set around the outer circumference of the large gear, appropriately called the “brake wheel”.
There are 3 segments of the brake block. The top block is the longest. The lower 2 brake blocks are considerably shorter.
These two brake blocks are coupled together and work in a similar way to the brake shoes of a drum brake on a motor car. The upper brake block is the leading brake and is applied first which in turn, by the friction of the brake wheel, applies the lower brake block. So the braking technology from 1796 is still used on many modern motor cars.
To engage the brake, a long chain on the outside of the mill, hanging from the brake pole, is used to apply the brake.
The initial force that applies the brake is a weighted box on top of the brake beam. The operation of the brake must be done by trained millers as it is possible to seriously damage the sails, and other machinery, if operated without required care. This force is sufficient to start the braking operation and moderated by the Miller, the mill can be brought to a safe stop.