home > Olive presses and olive oil mills: History
ALMAZARA: (from the Arab al-ma´sara, “the squeezing place”). Olive oil mill.
TRUJAL: (from the Latin torculáre). Press where the olive is pressed and squeezed.
Human and animal traction have been used throughout history to obtain oil. The use of natural elements such as water and wind has also been very important.
The oldest preparation method was via human force, using the talega system, consisting in treading on the olives in sacks placed on a trough.
The Romans were considered to be the first to use the olive mills, although Plinius attributes the invention the Athenian, Aristeus.
The mills were initially moved by the force generated by animal traction and even by men pushing them, but with the passing of the centuries and the evolution of the techniques, the hydraulic mill, driven by water, was generally used. Information has been found in documentation about the different phases of the traditional oil obtaining process:
Since the 17th and 18th centuries, the olive mills, called in Spanish almazaras or trujales, spread throughout the Iberian Peninsula. The start of the change from stone mills to tapered roller mills, the last method to produce oil with mills, dates back to 1798.
From the 19th century onwards, industrialisation brings about the automation of the entire process. Despite this, however, the basis of the entire operation is still the same today, when the oil is prepared in high-technology presses, based on automation and food hygiene. In short, the old implements have been replaced, but the knowledge and historical order are still maintained.
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