By the end of the 14th century, most rural towns had on average up to seven mills — water-powered forging mills, washmills, sawmills, water pumps, bellows (in foundries and smelters) and for beating hemp.
Each mill consisted of three parts: the engine, the transmission system and the work equipment. The driving mechanism or engine was a water wheel and the gearing or transmission system consisted of many gears to convert the force from the slow moving mill wheel to fast motion.
Work equipment differed according to the particular function of the mill. At the heart of grain mills were millstones: a lower, stationary 'bedstone' and an upper, rotating 'runner'. The grain was ground between the two. The mill had to be well situated: the current had to be neither too weak, nor too strong, and in the Czech climate the strength of the current in the river varied greatly with the seasons. This meant the miller also had to build artificial mill runs and weirs with which to control the flow.
Windmills became prevalent in Europe between the 11th and 14th centuries. The most suitable environment for their construction was to be found in the foothills of mountains, on plains and in coastal landscapes, where strong air currents abounded. They were generally wooden post mills, standing on a characteristic conical trestle log base. They would be rotate around the central stake to face into the wind. As a rule, the mill had four vanes - sails set in a rectangular cross mounted on the front wall of the building.
As the wind leant into them, they would turn to move a wooden gearing and transfer the torque to the millstones, located on the first floor. The disadvantage of windmills was their frequent need for repair and maintenance, and they were often struck by lightning. When operating, they vibrated intensely, making working in them neither pleasant nor safe.