My words, thoughts and photos from a Swedish perspective

Yesterday’s technology

Water was an important part of yesterday’s technology. A pond is a good start and then you need some kind of waterfall which is not likely to be found where you need it. This means that mankind will have to take the necessary steps and measures to help Mother Nature and get the same effect.

You can see the result of such an action on the image above. Not much of a waterfall, but wild and powerful enough for its purpose.

The next step was to collect the water and make it flow to where it was needed. One could, for instance, use a wooden tube for that purpose.

The “How to get the water to a house like that-problem” was now solved. Well, what’s in that house? It must be something special.

Oh yes! And an ordinary water tap would just not be enough to meet this water wheel’s demand for water.

The power from the water wheel goes to these bars. The invention is German, was developed in Germany’s mining district during the 16th century and was used to, for example, keep the pumps going.

This is how they spliced the bars together in the old days.

A construction like this was used to divert and/or share the power along its way to the final user. Devices were also invented which made it possible to change the direction of power from horizontal to vertical.

The construction above was in use at the mines in Pershyttan for pumping the water out of the mines from late 17th century until 1930 when electric pumps were installed. Its original length was about 600 metres and about 200 metres are preserved. They run it during the tourist season, thereby giving us a hint of yesterday’s technology.

It goes without saying that this technology had its limits. The effect loss was about 20 % per 1000 metres, so they could definitely not be made “endless” and the constant need for water to keep it going could be a problem during dry summers. Still, it proved to be a solution they could rely on and it kept the mines dry and safe for centuries.


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