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PowerPedia:Watermill

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A watermill is a structure that uses a There was an error working with the wiki: Code[1] to drive a mechanical process such as There was an error working with the wiki: Code[2], grinding or There was an error working with the wiki: Code[3].

The technology behind the watermill is somewhat older than that of the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[4] and There was an error working with the wiki: Code[5] are known to have used the technology the Romans used both fixed and floating water wheels and introduced water power to other countries of the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[6] built huge mill complexes all over Western Europe during the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[7].

Operation of a watermill

Typically, water is diverted from a There was an error working with the wiki: Code[8] or mill pond to a turbine or water wheel, along a channel or pipe (variously known as a flume, head race, There was an error working with the wiki: Code[31], There was an error working with the wiki: Code[32], leet, or There was an error working with the wiki: Code[33]). The force of the water's movement drives the blades of a wheel or turbine, which in turn rotates an axle that drives the mill's other machinery. Water leaving the wheel or turbine is drained through a tail race, but this channel may also be the head race of yet another wheel, turbine or mill. The passage of water is controlled by There was an error working with the wiki: Code[34] gates that allow maintenance and some measure of There was an error working with the wiki: Code[35] control large mill complexes may have dozens of sluices controlling complicated interconnected races that feed multiple buildings and industrial processes.

There are three kinds of water mill: undershot, overshot and horizontal. The oldest of these were horizontal mills in which the force of the water, striking a simple paddle wheel set horizontally in line with the flow turned a There was an error working with the wiki: Code[36] balanced on a shaft leading directly up from the wheel. The problem with this type of mill arose from the lack of gearing the speed of the water directly set the maximum speed of the runner stone which, in turn, set the rate of milling.

At some point gearing was invented. This allowed the mill designers to employ a large mill wheel set perpendicular to the mill race (this is the type of water wheel we generally think of when we imagine a water mill). This large wheel drove a shaft which turned a smaller There was an error working with the wiki: Code[37] set with pegs that, in turn, turned a There was an error working with the wiki: Code[38] attached to the shaft which drove the runner stone (additional gearing might allow a single water wheel to drive as many as four stones). Each step in the process increased the gear ratio which increased the maximum speed of the runner stone. Adjusting the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[39] and thus the speed of the water past the main wheel allowed the miller to finely adjust the speed of his stone(s) depending on the type of grain being milled.

A later innovation was the overshot wheel. With an undershot wheel, in which the main water wheel is simply set into the flow of the mill race there exists an inherent inefficiency stemming from the fact that the wheel itself, entering the water behind the main thrust of the flow driving the wheel, followed by the lift of the wheel out of the water ahead of the main thrust, actually impedes its own operation. The overshot wheel solves this problem by bringing the water flow to the top of the wheel. The water fills buckets built into the wheel (rather than the simple paddle wheel design of undershot wheels). As the buckets fill, the weight of the water starts to turn the wheel. The water spills out of the bucket on the down side into a spillway leading back to river. Since the wheel itself is set above the spillway, the water never impedes the speed of the wheel. This type of mill requires the construction of a dam on the river above the mill and a more elaborate millpond, sluice gate, mill race and spillway.

Toward the end of the 1800s, the invention of the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[40] encouraged some mill owners in at least North America to replace over- and undershot wheels with There was an error working with the wiki: Code[41] and Pelton wheel There was an error working with the wiki: Code[42]. By the early 20th century, availability of cheap electrical energy made the water mill obsolete although some smaller rural mills continued to operate commercially into the 1960s (in North America).

A unique type of water mill is the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[9] in the UK.

Other water mills can be set beneath large bridges where the flow of water between the stanchions is faster. At one point London bridge had so many water wheels beneath it that bargemen complained that passage through the bridge was impaired.

A final, rather elegant, water wheel innovation places the wheel in a boat anchored in midstream. The flow of the river past the boat turns the wheel and drives the millstone.

"Run of the river" schemes do not divert water at all and usually involve There was an error working with the wiki: Code[10] near the outer edge that drives machinery from a There was an error working with the wiki: Code[11] rather than taking power from the central There was an error working with the wiki: Code[43]. However, the basic mode of operation remains the same Gravity drives There was an error working with the wiki: Code[44] through the motion of flowing Water.

Types of watermills

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[45]s grind There was an error working with the wiki: Code[46]s into There was an error working with the wiki: Code[47]. These were undoubtedly the most common kind of mill.

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[48]s or Walkmills were used for a finishing process on cloth (see also There was an error working with the wiki: Code[49]).

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[50]s were used for sharpening newly made blades.

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At the beginning of the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[58], There was an error working with the wiki: Code[59]s were usually powered by a water wheel.

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[60]s for making There was an error working with the wiki: Code[61] were sometimes water-powered.

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[62]s for weaving There was an error working with the wiki: Code[63] were sometimes water-powered.

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[64]s for making There was an error working with the wiki: Code[65] or There was an error working with the wiki: Code[66] were sometimes water-powered.

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[67]s, There was an error working with the wiki: Code[68]s, There was an error working with the wiki: Code[69]s, and There was an error working with the wiki: Code[70] were until the introduction of the steam engine invariably water powered and were sometimes called iron mills.

Prior to the introduction of the cupola (a There was an error working with the wiki: Code[71]), lead was usually smelted in There was an error working with the wiki: Code[72]s.

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[73]s used water not only for motive power but also in large quantities in the manufacturing process.

United Kingdom Watermills

The use of water power in Britain was at its peak just before the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[15] in the country. Most of these were corn mills (to grind There was an error working with the wiki: Code[74]), but almost any industrial process needing motive power, beyond that available from the muscles of men or animals, used a Water wheel, unless a There was an error working with the wiki: Code[75] was preferred.

Today only a fraction of these mills survive. Many are used as private residences, or have been converted into offices or flats. A small number have been preserved or restored as museums where the public can see the mill in operation. Below is a list of some of the surviving Watermills and There was an error working with the wiki: Code[76]s in the United Kingdom.

England

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Scotland

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Northern Ireland

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Wales

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Isle of Man

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Related concepts

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Water wheel

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Windmill

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External articles and references

Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged (1952) states: leet, n. A leat a flume. [Obs.]

17 Jun 2003, Deutsche Welle: The World's First Underwater Windmill Starts Turning

U.S. Mill Pictures and Information

Tidal power station

Mill database with over 15000 european mills

Watermills in Norfolk, England

Mills in Hampshire, England

Upwey Mill, Weymouth, Dorset

The International Molinological Society (TIMS)

A catalogue tide mills by county

The Society for the Preservation of Old Mills (SPOOM)

There was an error working with the wiki: Code[1], Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation.

See also

- PowerPedia

- Main Page

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