The oats warehouse in Boden was during 1913 – 1950 the central warehouse of the Military Command of the Northern Region (Övre Norrlands Militärområde) and supplied the units in Boden, Kiruna and Umeå with feed. When eventually the units were fully motorized, the warehouse was used by Sweden’s Food Commission for grain storage. In 1978, the warehouse was rebuilt into a storeroom. All the machines were then removed, except in one hall, where a few of them are kept for antiquarian reasons.
An ingenious machinery
The grain delivered to Havremagasinet was generally not winnowed. The grain was taken into the building via an intake. From there the grain could be transported to a winnower and then directly carried out of the building in 50 kilos sacks. Normally, the grain was winnowed and then transported up to floor 7 by elevators. By means of rotating paddles the grain was brought to different bins at their respective floors. By an ingenious machinery the grain could then be tapped off – floor by floor – and then up again. There was also the possibility of emptying one bin at floor 5 directly down to floor 2. All of the machinery – except the screw for the intake (gearwheel transmission) – was driven by transmission belts. The equipment was made in Germany.
When storing grain, it is important to be watchful of temperature and humidity. If the temperature exceeded 20 degrees Celsius the grain had to be transported around in the building. The procedure took place at night with all the windows kept open. The grain was transported horizontally by feed screws and vertically by paddles on belt. From 7:th floor down to 2:nd floor and then up again. The grain travelled round in this way until temperature had gone down. When damp, the grain was dried in the same way. When Havremagasinet was in operation, only the ground floor was warmed up. It must have been insufferable cold – especially considering that it was an indoor work. Not to mention how hot the building could be in the summers.
Tor-Gunnar worked at Havremagasinet from 1939 to 1950. In the beginning, there were considerable problems with rats. They were fought by grinding glass into a powder and spreading it where the rats were most likely to pass by. When rat-poison came in use, other problems aroused. The handling of grain brought along dust; and the rat-poison was spread with the dust. It was not deadly, but it caused diarrhoea. Injuries caused by crushing were also a problem. The work was hard, and one of the tasks was to unload jute sacks of 100 kilos from goods wagons. Then the sacks were to be emptied in an intake for the grain to be transported further into the warehouse.
Working hours: Monday – Friday 07 – 17, Saturday 07 – 13
Wages (1939): 67 SEK/week
Holiday: Six days
The Army was in need of grain for immediate use as well as it needed to have the grain in readiness. In the warehouse the grain could be handled in four different ways.
1. No winnowing or weighing
2. Weighing only
3. Winnowing only
4. Both winnowing and weighing
To store grain for a longer period demanded constant supervision, to prevent it from becoming rotten or damaged in other ways. De different alternatives made it possible to store grain that was not winnowed as well as winnowed grain in the warehouse.
A total amount of 1,920 tons of grain could be kept in 48 bins in the warehouse.
In time of crises, like during the Second World War, the bins were always filled to capacity.