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== Mechanical power ==
Prior to the widespread availability of commercial electric power, simple mechanical power was produced and used for [[irrigation]], and operation of various machines, such as [[watermills]], textile machines, sawmills, dock cranes, and domestic lifts.
For 2000 years, waterpower has been harnessed to do useful work. Waterwheels played a vital role in early industrialization in Europe and North America, powering a wide variety of decentralized manufacturing and processing enterprises. The steel water turbine provided more power at a given site than the waterwheel, and in the U.S. many waterwheel-powered mills were converted to water turbines in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Blacksmiths and foundrymen produced the turbines and modified the designs during this period of great innovation and profitable production. Water-powered mills produced: "... such household products as cutlery and edge tools, brooms and brushes ... furniture, paper ... pencil lead ... needles and pins ... watches and clocks, and even washing machines .... For the farm they turned out fertilizers, gunpowder, axles, agricultural implements, barrels, ax handles, wheels, carriages. There were woolen, cotton, flax, and linen mills ... tannery, boot and shoe mills ... and mills turning out surgical appliances and scientific instruments."
For centuries, power from [[hydroelectric]] resources has been captured by man: it is in 1688, that the MARLY machine, build from 14 wheels and pipes, allowed to pump back water from the Seine, located at an altitude of 162m, to supply in the needs of the ponds and fountains of Versailles.

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