Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Early Water Power

The oldest machines for capturing the energy of moving water were waterwheels. In the days before electricity, it was common to use water wheels to provide the power for mills that ground grain or cut lumber. To start the mill, the miller simply opened a gate to let the water flow over the top of the wheel. The water wheel was connected to a massive millstone or metal saw blade through a system of gears. Water for the wheel usually came from a small dam and reservoir, called the millpond.
Figure 1 Some of the earliest powered machines were waterwheels

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