Water Wheel History: Learning Where the Use of the Wheel Started

If there is one human-developed technology that has a significant impact in the lives of people up until this time, then you can count on the water wheel.

You may have seen these wheels in pictures and movies, often serving as a backdrop for industrial and agricultural areas. And there is a reason why the common pictures of the wheels are near or just beside industrial and agricultural zones. It’s because, the first water wheels that were used centuries ago was for that purpose.

Here’s a little introduction about the wheel before going further with water wheel history.

Consider the water wheel as an example of a machine that is used to harness the energy of the moving and the falling water, and converting this energy into something helpful and useable like electricity for many households.

The typical construction of the horizontal wheel is a wheel that is made from wood or metal with a number of blades and buckets. These blades and buckets are fitted on the outside of the wheel. Aside from the horizontal type, you can also check out the vertical type and this one sits on the vertical axis.

It started with the Romans

Before the modern water wheels for hydropower plants, there were ancient water wheels. These are the wheels that are used for agricultural purposes, for example in grinding the wheat.

The first description of the wheel was made by an engineer during the Augustan Age. It was written then that this kind of machine was rarely used, perhaps due to the availability of labor that can work things out.

But during the ancient times, the most productive use for the water wheels was made in the flour mills. It was even noted that in the 4th century AD there were around 16 overshot water wheels that were used for the mills.

The use of the water wheel was popular as well in ancient China

It was not just the Romans that took advantage of the benefits and the advantages that can be delivered by the water wheels.

Even the Chinese as well took notice of the good things that can be done by the wheels. The wheels back then are used for different purposes and applications. The Chinese water wheel history also detailed that the wheels were used for the iron casting industry as well. The wheels as powered by moving water were also used to grind the grain.

The most common water wheels used in China during that time was the horizontal type, and there are undershot water wheels as well. A check with history books also reveal that these wheels were used for mining purposes. The wheels where used to pump the water from the mines. And right now, it can be noted that the history of the wheels have turned a new chapter. The wheels are no longer just used for agricultural purposes; rather you can now find wheels that are used in generating power.

There are now simple and advanced water wheels that are used for power generation.