“L” is for Lucas, Jonathan
“L” is for Lucas, Jonathan [ca. 1754-1821]. Millwright. Born in England, Lucas immigrated to South Carolina around 1786. He arrived at a fortuitous time. Most rice was still pounded by hand in mortars and pestles or processed by animal-powered crude pecker or cog mills. Neither of these could keep pace with the rapidly expanding production of tidal rice fields. In 1787, Lucas designed a new pounding mill powered by an undershot waterwheel. In 1793 he built a highly automated, tide-powered mill that could pack as many as twenty 600-pound barrels of rice on a single tide. With his son he constructed his rice mills throughout the lowcountry, providing a means for planters to clean their ever-increasing output of rice. In 1817 Jonathan Lucas purchased land in Charleston and built the first steam-powered mill in the United States.