One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1US (originally Amer.). A mill engaged in the purchase and grinding of grain and its resale as flour, etc. Compare custom mill. Now historical.
2Originally US. A rolling mill producing iron or steel, especially in special shapes and sizes designed to meet the requirements of a particular market.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in New York Mercury. From merchant + mill.
merchant mill/ˈməːtʃ(ə)nt mɪl/
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