History of the Water Wheel
The waterwheel is an ancient machine that uses flowing or falling water to produce power by a set of paddles attached around a wheel. The water's force and the resulting turning of the wheel are transferred to the device via the wheel's shaft. Waterwheels were used for crop irrigation, crushing up grains, supplying drinking water to villages and later to run sawmills, pumps, tilt-hammers, trip hammers, and to power textile mills. This machine was probably the first method of creating mechanical energy that replaced humans and animals. The earliest known description of a vertical waterwheel was found in writings of a Roman engineer, Vituvius who lived in the Augustan age around 11 B.C. However, water wheels remained scarce and were rarely used, as the two major sources of power in that day and age were humans and animals.
The first waterwheels can be described as a grindstone mounted on top of a vertical shaft whose paddled lower end dipped into a rapid stream, the wheel was horizontal.
As early as the first century, the horizontal waterwheel, which is terribly inefficient in transferring the power of the current to the milling mechanism, was being replaced by vertical waterwheels.
In the olden times water wheels were characterized by a horizontal axis. We basically can distinguish 3 main types of water wheels. There is the undershot wheel, the center water wheel and the overshot wheel.
The undershot wheel is the oldest type of water wheel. The name undershot comes from this striking at the bottom of the wheel. It is also considered the...