The Dam Page

Intro

Years ago when I was a young boy, my friend and I would go on adventures walking through the woods following creeks and brooks (they call them rivers in Connecticut) where we’d stumble across ruins of old mills.  To us it felt like we were the first archaeologist finding an ancient tomb or some long lost artifact, but in reality, they were pretty well documented.  We’d find pipes and gears and other bits and pieces half buried in the dirt and at one mill site a draft tube from an ancient turbine stuck out of the mud.




ackerly-pit
Ackerly mill site, Vernon CT. (Dobsonville) Tankerhoosen River. A more recent view of the draft tube in the wheel or turbine pit. At one time there was probably a breast wheel in the spot, but as the mill was upgraded over the years the wheel was replaced with a turbine. If you look closely, just behind the pipe you can see the stone arch where the water would exit the mill after running through the turbine. Thanks to Scott Lent for the photo. You can see more of this mill as it was at Scott’s Vernon Depot website.

I always wondered about that pipe and how it fit into the scheme of making power for the mill.  The only thing I remembered from school was that mills had water wheels on the outside and looked like the typical grist mill we normally associate with water power.

Fast forward 40 years

After moving back up to New England from a stint living down in Louisiana I once again became interested in water power.  However, this time I had a better understanding, a car, a digital camera and the internet in my armamentarium of essential tools.  This has (almost ?) become an obsession and to this day my wife rolls her eyes when I slam on the brakes when I see a mill dam, or other water power related device.   I’ve amassed a collection of pictures of anything and everything dealing with the harnessing of water.  Pictures from the net, my own pictures, catalogs, everything I could get my grubby little hands on.

Since they were of no use sitting on my hard drive, I put them together on my old Dam Page.  Once I started using the blog I shut down the old site, along with The Dam Page.  The blog has offered a better way to put pictures up on line.  Clickity zip!  Seriously, beating them up there in HTML was a real bummer.   WordPress makes it so much easier.  So now that I have a way to put oodles of pictures up on the site, you will get to see oodles of pictures I took over the years.   Feel free to copy and use them for your own enjoyment or education, or both.

Most of this page and associated galleries are geared more toward hydro-turbines and their associated machinery, for modeling purposes.   I touch on typical water wheels, but this page is directed more towards the modern hydro-turbine and its use in supplying power to mills both tiny and large.  This is not a complete treatise  on the subject, nor is it my intention to supply engineering formulas since there are books and plenty of other resources on the internet for such needs, but to offer a visual insight to the historical workings of a mill’s hydro turbine and following power train.  That being said, some basic understanding of the physics behind hydro turbines and how they are set up is necessary to convey real life situations into a scale model.

Or, putting it another way, I’m gonna upload up a butt load of pictures I’ve taken or found and try to explain them in layman’s terms so you can build a super cool scene and impress visitors with awesome background information.

Believe me,  I’m no expert on the subject.  I try to be accurate, however if you see something I missed or quoted wrongly you are welcomed to correct me.  I’m not an engineer, but if you need a hydro engineer I can hook you up.  Now, on with the show…

NOTE:  Clicking on most pictures will bring you to a gallery of more examples of whatever you clicked on.


 Water Power

Old School

When we think of water power from years ago the first thing that comes to our minds is the old grist mill with a creaking water wheel on the side.  Granted, these are neat eye catchers, but most mill owners had converted to hydro turbines by 1900.   Any new mill after 1870’s was built with a turbine in mind.  It is simply much better at converting water flow into power and any mill owner in their right mind would have specified a turbine.   The old over, under and breast wheels were outdated once the Francis or Boyden turbines came on the market.  However, the water wheel carried on well into the 20th century at some locations as evident by small mills still having their wheels and manufacturers offered steel wheels to replace the tired wooden ones.  You can see one here at the Sudbury Grist Mill gallery.  Here’s a nice page on small water powered mills and their placement.

Undershot wheel
Undershot wheel. Notice how only a small portion (1/6) of the wheel is in the water. Not very efficient.
Overshot wheel
Overshot wheel. A bit better since it is using roughly 1/3 of the wheels potential. Still, not that efficient. Plus it was slow.
Breast-shot wheel. More efficient than the other two, but still only using less than a 1/4 of the wheels potential.

 

Hydro-Turbine use

The earliest method of transferring the weight of water into useful power was the water-wheel, but it still took thousands of years before the water-wheel was transformed into the modern hydro-turbine.  Once the turbine became the vogue power source most mills realized an immediate increase in power simply due to the turbines improved efficiency over the old water wheels. The true modern day hydro turbine came to life in 1848 when James B. Francis and Uriah A. Boyden out of Lowell, MA created what is now called the Francis design.  Mr. Francis met Mr. Boyden at a demonstration of one of Mr. Boyden’s turbines in  Lowell.  Mr. Francis was the Manager of Locks and Canals in Lowell and took an immediate interest in Mr. Boyden and they began to work together improving the design and thus created the turbine which now bears the name of Mr. Francis.  They improved it so much that it was 90% more efficient than Mr. Boyden’s previous design.

From the water-wheel, or turbine, the power was transmitted through  gears,  line-shafts, leather belts and pulleys to the intended piece of equipment.  There are inherent inefficiencies in all of those mechanical drive components and a lot of energy is lost.  After the electric generator and motor where invented most mills eliminated the mechanical drive from the wheel pit and replace it with a generator and mounted a motor “upstairs” that would drive the line shafting and the following machinery.    This increased the efficiency between the turbine and the upper line-shafts because generating and transferring the electricity to a motor is much more efficient than trying to do it through multiple gear, belts and pulleys.  An added plus was that it was easier to maintain.

mill-location
Small turbine powered gristmill, circa 1890’s. The turbine is mounted in a wooden flume. The water flows into the flume from the head-gates, through the turbine and then down and out through the tail race.  The vertical shaft coming out the top of the turbine is connected to a large beveled gear that changed the direction of power through the horizontal line shaft to the left to run the machines above.  The shaft also supplied power to the mill stone on the right. The small “T” shaped device in the middle (it’s actually a wheel in cross-section), next to the center post on the first floor wall the wicket gate control wheel.  There is no indication of a governor to control speed.

 

 

mill_lineshaft_layout
This was a modern textile mill circa 1850’s. Large mills were driven by batteries or gangs of turbines which turned huge flywheels that transmitted power up to machinery through miles of leather belts.

 

 

tailwater_outlets2
Old mill in Holyoke, MA.  As you can see, seven turbines powered this large rag paper mill. It is now called Open Square and now use two turbines to supply power to the mill and electrical grid. Square one is a Zero Net Energy facility.

 

 

 

IMG_0108
Turbine pit at the Bootte mill in Lowell, MA. the turbine sat on the ring with water coming in from the steel plate penstock. The drive shaft from the turbine came up vertically and connected to a “bridge-tree”, or frame with big beveled gears that drove huge flywheels that in turn drove the miles of leather belts that powered the machinery upstairs.
pamk48
This is a bridge-tree. This one was designed to handle two turbines.  A wide leather belt would transmit the power up to the upper levels.

 

 

 

boott_mill
This is a modernized mill where a new hydro-electric generator was installed and the old floor to floor belt drive was removed.

 

 

boott_turbine_gen
Close up of turbine room and pit.

 

IMG_0112


 

The mill still needed the line-shafting throughout the building simply because smaller electrical motors for individual machines hadn’t been offered and most machines were built to be driven off of a line-shaft.

Motor that runs the whole floor. This was originally powered by the turbine and generator.
Motor that runs the whole floor. This was originally powered by the turbine and generator, but is now run off of the local utility.  You can still find remnants of line-shafting in some of the old mills that are no longer used for their intended purposes.

 

lineshaft-2
Row upon rows of belt driven machines and this is just one floor. It’s kind of hard to think that one turbine way down in the bowels of a mill could run all of this, but they could.

 

The change over to all electric didn’t happen overnight.  It twas gradual and in some cases it didn’t happen until the 1960s and maybe even later.  Some of the machinery that was being powered by overhead line-shafting never needed replacing.  It was built to last and it did.  Replace a worn bushing or re-Babbitt a pillow block and you’re good to go for another 20yrs.  No use in replacing or upgrading the whole machine if it’s working fine.   However, once a machine was scheduled for replacement, that’s when the conversion was done.  It just wasn’t cost effective to retrofit the whole mill with electric motors.


Some Basics

HEAD

Head is the measure of the height difference between the water in the river/pond and the tailwater level.   If there is a 14 foot difference between the two, then it is said to have 14ft of head.  If you multiply .438 by the head height you get the pressure of the water that will push against the blades of the turbine.  i.e. 14ft x .438 = 6.132 PSI.  Which doesn’t sound like much but it you add up all the square inches on a blade and multiply it by the number of blades, then the pounds of force rises dramatically.  Low head heights turbines turn relatively slow, but generate enormous amounts of torque, where a high head turbine is usually built for speed with lower torque ratings.  Low head turbines usually had to be up-geared to spin the shafts of machinery like looms and machine tools, where high head turbines were geared down, unless the machine they were driving happened to need the same speed as the turbine.  Each site capability and requirements can be totally different from another, so all of this has to be considered in the design and thus, no two sites are identical.

Hydraulic_head

More head, more power.

In many cases when a dam was built it was designed for a set power range.  Over time most mills outgrew their earlier power requirements and would add a set of flashboards to the top of the dam which increased the head height and therefore the power potential.  If the mill exceeded the dam and flash-board capability then a dam might be built farther and higher up the river to supply more pressure.  A race (canal) or penstock (pipe) would then transmit the water to the mill.

TOSHIBA Exif JPEG
Shelburn Falls, MA. Concrete dam with static and hydraulic flashboards. Flashboards are used to increase the head or height of the water to increase the power potential. More head, more power. It’s a pressure thing. The hydraulic boards are used for flood control,  while the static boards are designed to fold over in the case of a flash flood, hence the name.

Flow

The volume of water moving over a particular distance over a particular time period.   If there isn’t enough flow, then you can’t keep the turbine filled with water and won’t generate enough power for your mill.  To increase flow, you needed to dam the river to hold enough water back to last for the workday, or build your mill next to a larger river.   Any small river over 10 feet wide (other than a bayou) could potentially run a small mill.   That’s basically a brook, so you really don’t need to build “super dam”.  Obviously, if you want to power a bigger mill, you need a bigger river, but most raceways to the mills never exceeded 30 feet and that’s only 4-5 inches in HO scale.  2″ race way in HO scale would power a decent sized mill.  Don’t worry, I have plenty of pictures for you to use as reference.small_race


The Dam

Dams come in all sizes.  From the tiny to monstrous.    Building a model of the Hoover Dam would be ridiculous in any of the model railroad scales as it would simply be too large and would most likely take up the size of a house.  But, lucky for us, there are plenty of examples of small dams that would fit on any layout quite nicely and still give the impression of harnessing power.

cement_dam-1
Little concrete dam on a little brook in Colrain, MA that used to supply water to a tiny turbine down the hill at an old apple press and bee hive manufacturing company. It’s not any wider than about 20 ft, so it’s perfect for those who would like a scene like this on a layout or in a diorama. The hand-wheel is to the penstock valve, or head gate in this case.  The penstock has been dislodged and disconnected.  The valve’s stem would have normally stood up vertically.

 

100_0083
Quaint dam just south of Monson, MA that supplied water for a turbine in a small manufacturing facility that is located right behind me. Mind you, it’s an ugly building at best and not really worthy wasting bandwidth to put it up here.  Notice the apron stones at the bottom.

 

New concrete dam.
New concrete dam. Eastwood’s Auto Machine in Somersville, CT. The State of Connecticut came in and rebuilt the dam and added reinforcement to the old mill.  The intake to the penstock used to be where you see the clumps of grass in the pond right next to the concrete bulkhead on the left.  The turbine discharged between the newer concrete reinforcement in the center and the bridge on the right just behind that clump of trees.

 

DSC_0719
Collinsville, CT forebay for the Collins Axe Company’s shops. The dam is actually an overflow or spillway for the forebay to the Collins Co’ buildings, which is the pond you see . The dam across the Farmington River is right below the bridge where I am standing taking the picture.

 

 

Collinsvill_forebay
This is normal flow now-a-days. During everyday operations (1900) the flow over the spillway and dam could stop if the flow of water through the river was unseasonably low.

 

chicopee_falls
Dam at Chicopee Falls, MA. The supports and hardware for the hydraulic flash boards gives the falling water a pretty multi-veiled appearance.  This dam was decommissioned in the early 1900s when it was cheaper to get electricity from the local utility than for the mills to generate their own.  The head race canal was filled in and the gatehouse was converted over to a supply shed for the local dept of public works.  However, in 1985 a set of Kaplan style turbines were installed to generate clean electricity in a fully automated set-up.

 

 

industrialholyoke
The Dam at south Hadley Falls supplied water to the canals for the mills in Holyoke, MA. There are two levels of canals, allowing the water to be used twice. There is an estimated 40,000 horse power available at the dam. Building a dam then running canals to mills was a common practice and can be seen in other places around New England such as Lowell, MA, and Manchester, NH. This was a large undertaking and required enormous amounts of capital that was often supplied by investors out of Boston.

 

Wood Cribbed Dam filled with stone.

 


 Gates and Gate Hoists

Gate hoists are some of the coolest contraptions I have ever come across while searching for dam stuff.  The most interesting thing about them is that there are so many different designs.  Not only did you have the big manufactures making their designs, but you had the local foundry and machine shops building their own for the guy down the road, or in some cases, for their own use.  Everyone had their idea of what was the best design.

waterpower 331
Gang or Battery of Holyoke Machine Co. gate hoists.


Races, Flumes and Penstocks

Very seldom will anyone see a turbine since most are buried deep in the bowels of the mills they powered, so for modeling purposes, a  race, flume or penstock would be the first place to start to to give the impression that the mill was water powered.  All of these are pretty easy to model and only need to run up to the mill, or underneath it.  A small arched opening on the downside of the mill to indicate a tailwater discharge and you are ready to go.  Really no need to model the turbine, or the dam for that matter.  The dam can be farther up river around a corner totally out of the scene.  Of course, everyone loves a dam and falling water.

 

 

feeder-canal
Head Race in Holyoke, MA. The penstock intake is at the end, where there was once a gate hoist. The water would enter the penstock and flow to the turbine(s). In a mill this size it was quite common to have 5-6 turbines working and although many are in disrepair and no longer in use, some have regained some of their former glory by generating electricity for the city.

 

 

standard43
An engraving depicting a turbine powered sawmill being fed through a wooden flume. These were quite common years ago, but most have disintegrated into sawdust over the years.

 

alexandermill
Here is a flume/forebay coming off of the Ohio & Erie canal. There used to be a wooden wall on this side of the old turbine where the short concrete wall sits. To the left of the old turbine is the now blocked up opening into the turbine pit. There was a gate to allow water into the pit, that ran through the turbines and then down and out through the arched opening in the basement wall just left of the building’s corner. As you can see, the head height is not much at all. Maybe 6-8 ft, so you really don’t need a super high dam to power your mill.  BTW, the turbine sitting in the flume was moved there to get it out of the way.  That is not its original location.

 

DSC_0019
This lonely turbine was fed by the penstock in the foreground that runs up behind me, under the road, around a house up to the original head-gate location at the dam. The gates have been removed and the penstock plugged since both the turbine and the penstock have become rusted through and are no longer usable. Seriously, I didn’t want t walk on the penstock because the metal is now paper thin. Click on the picture for more details.

 


 

The Turbine

As mentioned earlier, the turbine replaced the water wheel as the dominant water to power converter.  The earliest turbines were were called tub-wheels and were usually built out of wood.  These wheels were compact and at best a bit better than a typical water-wheel power-wise.  You can see one in operation at the Carding Mill at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA

The tub-wheel turbine. This illustration is from David Macaulay’s book “Mill”
which I highly recommend for everyone’s personal edification. It’s so well done without getting overly technical. He also has a few other well done illustrated books that are well worth the money.

 

Another unexpected find.  Based on Mr Macaulay’s book, too.  Excellent video. Enjoy.  Mills


The Boyden

boydenturbine
The Boyden turbine used a radial discharge

The Francis Turbine

The Francis design, by which most turbines are related, hasn’t changed in design except for individual company “perfections”.  The runners or the moving part connected to the drive shaft are in most cases identical with the variations in designs being in the method of flow control.  It is normally used in low head high flow situations where the head height can range from 10ft on up to 100ft.  I’m sure there are higher head examples of the Francis, but in those cases a Pelton wheel might be a better candidate.

 

basicturbine
McCormick cylindrical gate Francis style turbine. Mr. McCormick did more to improve the efficiency of turbines than any other person who manufactured them. His runner design is pretty universal these days. However, the cylindrical gate turbine had been pretty much superseded by the wicket gate design. Click on picture for more turbines and their installations.

 

The wicket gate turbine utilized adjustable vanes to control the flow to the runner. The runner is the darkened part inside of the diagram. Each wicket was controlled by control rods that were connected to a segment gear on the "gate arm". As the "gate pinion" would turn, either by manual control or a governor, it would move the segment gear, thus activating the wicket control rods either opening or closing them.
The wicket gate turbine utilized adjustable vanes to control the flow to the runner. The runner is the darkened part inside of the diagram. Each wicket was controlled by control rods that were connected to a segment gear on the “gate arm”. As the “gate pinion” would turn, either by manual control or a governor, it would move the segment gear, thus activating the wicket control rods either opening or closing them.

 

waterpower 182
Here’s a better view of the gate arm and the control rods to the wickets. The spherical or globe pressure housing is interesting.

 

 

typical_set-up
Some typical setups

 

 

 

075226pu[1]
This is a double runner (two turbines) mounted in a pressure housing with a center discharge.  See Fig. 8 above. The intake is on the backside and is evident by the penstock passing through the arch in the wall. There is a large steam engine to the right where you see the oil cup on top of the bearing in the right bottom corner. The asbestos covered steam line drops down from the ceiling to the steam head of the engine. Although we were all taught that “once the steam engine came around, mill owners could stop relying on water for power” is sort of not right. Water power was used until the demand for power could not be met by the water alone and the engine was used as a backup, or as a supplement to the water power. Even though a buck would buy you coal for days, water power was still cheaper, just not quite as reliable due to weather and/or the time of year.

 

horizontalturbine
An old Rodney Hunt Hi-test horizontal, double runner center discharge turbine in Holyoke, MA.  This was the first time I had ever seen a horizontal turbine in a pressure casing and had no idea how it was built or worked. It was the catalyst for me to delve even further into this water power thing.  Side note:  While taking some more pictures the other day I ran across the owner of the property who indicated he’d like to get the location back up and running to generate electricity.  The actual turbine and pit are useless, but he evidently has water rights, which is probably the hardest thing to acquire these days.  Click on the picture for more photos.

 

 

horizontalturbine3
Another shot of the pit. There are actually two turbines in this pit. The horizontal Hi-Test and vertical one that looks to have been a Boyden, but converted over to a Francis style later on. This is just an assumption, but the pressure housing looks very close to the Boyden pictured above. Notice the water pouring out through the thoroughly rusted through pressure housing.  The flywheels in the background are about 8ft in diameter.  These turbines did not drive generators and are a perfect example of power transmitted by leather belts.

 

 

IMG_9051
I can’t say for sure, but I think this is a retrofit. I may be wrong (probably) but I think this is part of the turbine that was in the pit shown above that I am assuming was a Boyden. I would have blown this assumption off, but right after coming to it I read that the French River Land Co. found an old boyden turbine hidden in an obscure side room in the basement of one of the mills in Holyoke, so… The cast builders plate looks to have been taken off of another machine by the number of mounting holes.

 

 

 

Turbine runner
Turbine runners litter the New England countryside. If you explore an old mill site, you just may run across one of these in the weeds. The runners would get worn out by either cavitation, or excessive sand and/or other debris.

 


The Appleton Turbine

Sometimes just by luck I come across bits like this.  Enjoy


niagra_sam
Total Insanity. Well, not really. When you have the head of Niagara Falls at your disposal you use it. A canal was built up to this location on the other side of these buildings and mill owners bought property along with the water rights to power their mills.  These mills were later demolished and the Schoellkopf Power Plant was built it their place.  Unfortunately, water leaked in from the old hydraulic tunnels and eventually caused the plant’s back wall to collapse, crushing everything below.  Click on the picture for more.

 

 

 

 Mill Retreat Turbine renewal

I just happened to come across this site and had to put some links to their pictures of renewing a turbine.  This is a typical set up.

Linked picture. Good wheel pit shot. There used to be beams in the slots that held up the turbine and flume flooring. The water would discharge down and out.  The tail race is silted up to the bottom of the turbine.

 

Linked picture. Restored beams.  All of the silt has been dug out

 

With the flooring completed.

 

 

 



 

 

Dart’s Mill

or

The Old Stone Mill

I grew up in the Vernon/Rockville area and could see this building from the library of my old 6th grade school.   It was last used by the Amerbelle Co until 2012 when the company shut their doors for good due to overseas manufacturing.

 

Dartmill
Mr. Dart, who had already built a few of the mills in town planned this mill as a rent-able building for anyone who needed a mill with water power. He installed a 55ft waterwheel (most likely) in the basement of the part of the building to the right of the tunnel, which was to supply vasts amount of power (at that time) to the tenants of the building. Unfortunately, Mr. Dart never saw this come to fruition as he went bankrupt before his investment paid him back.

 

 

scan0153
More power! This is a good shot of the newly added turbine house (1903?)  . The penstock comes out of the basement wall of the mill an then curves into the small brick annex.  The old disharge to the large wheel has been blocked up and the water falling over the old spillway to the left has stopped since  it is now being diverted to the turbine.  Chances are, the turbine was able to supply the mill and the surrounding buildings with enough power to eliminate any and all water wheels left at the site.

 

 

scan0152
A bit closer picture of the turbine house, penstock and waterfall. If you look down at the bottom of the annex you can see that the lower boards of the wooden weather shield are hinged. The turbine must be running because the hinged section is pushing outward into the lower pond, meaning that water is flowing outward.

 

 

100_3410
Dart’s mill today. A bit more overgrown and falling apart, but still an artist’s dream.

Modeling a Water Powered Mill

I feel  that one of the more fascinating things about model building is research and is why I put this page up.  Like I said, it’s more of a visual asset than any technical treatise on the subject, but touches on the technical side to give you an idea of how these turbines were utilized in order for you to create a realistic and accurate scene.   As for modeling, how far you want to go is up to you.   An old grist mill with a wheel on the side is pretty self explanatory.  A larger textile mill, not so much.  Most visitors will see just that, a big brick mill.  But, toss in a canal on one side and an arched opening on the river side with water coming out and it changes the whole thing.  You can leave it at that, with an occasional explanation to some visitors, and you’ve increased the model’s intrigue without too much work.  If you want to model the turbine you do have some options that are totally realistic and would make very interesting scenes.

One thing to remember is that you don’t need to model the whole system to indicate that a mill is water powered.  Unless the mill is built right next to the dam and is small in design will you ever see everything.  As mentioned before, some dams are built farther up the river out of sight.  Penstocks are often buried.  Buildings themselves can physically block a view, which happens too often in real life.  And of course, the turbine is tucked away in the basement. However,  with every rule there are exceptions.  See below.

external-mount
So, here ya go. You’ve got the OK to put a turbine on the outside of a building. It wasn’t common but it did happen in a few cases.

 

Cressbrook Mill, UK
Cressbrook Mill, UK Here’s another set of outdoor turbines from the other side of the pond.

 

Here’s an example of creative modeling. Fellow modeler Ed Traxler put this scene together that shows a turbine being right out in the middle. It is a contrived scene, but not impossible. Ed used the previous photo above to provide himself with enough info and with a bit of artistic license he was able to make the scene work and not be technically wrong.  this was Ed’s first turbine.  He’s improved on it considerably.  See newer design here.

 

 

new_england_brownstone2
Here’s a scene I had done for an old shelf layout I had built while living in an apartment and used it off my stonework when I first started making stone wall stuff. I needed a flat to block a hidden track that ran just above the arch you see in the picture. The building sits on top of the cut stone wall and arch. This was actually a common thing to do, build a factory right over the river. To the right I cast a board formed wall with a little tailwater discharge to give the impression of a water powered mill. Simple. No turbine, no dam, no penstocks. Just the hole.

 

subsurface_wwater_painted Copy of tailrace wet canal Copy of overall closeup

 

 


 

I want to thank French River Land Co. for allowing me to use their photos.  They were green before green was cool.  There is a lot more info on their website that delves deeper into the engineering side of hydro power, so if you are truly interested in installing a power plant, or need to have your dam repaired and updated to code, then these are the people to talk to.

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6 thoughts on “The Dam Page

  1. an incredible, and illuminating, educational site. I’m a mechanical engineer transitioning into hydroelectric (small – ROR and similar) power from solar and wind, and this site completely helped me get my bearings. Thank you greatly.

    1. Hi Oriel, thank you for the kudos. I still have a bunch of pictures to put up, but I’ll get them up there in time. I love the idea of hydro-power. It’s clean, easy to start and stop and the available power from even a small stream is enticing as a form of electrical generation. I think it’s far more practical than solar or wind because it works even when it’s cloudy or calm. If you need to talk to other engineers about hydro power I highly recommend The French River Land Co http://frenchriverland.com/ I basically condensed everything they have on their sight into something the lay-person can understand. They have papers and reports on jobs they have done, plus actual calculations for various pieces of equipment that I figured would just confuse the regular Joe, but should be right up your alley. Again, thanks. Russ

  2. Interesting web site. Linked into it from Scott Lent’s mill page on his Vernon Depot web site. Have worked with Scott on Vernon mills. Also a fellow RR buff.

    I evaluate mill sites in Tolland County towns. When finished, I summarize in books or booklets. Completed Tolland, Willington, Union, and Coventry. Getting ready to publish Vernon and Hebron.

    I also maintain a web site, http://www.lostmillsites.info. Unfortunately I am way behind on posting.

    Would like to chat with you about your work.

    1. Hi Dick,
      Glad you like the site. I have a ton of more pictures to upload, but like you, I have to get around to it. I can’t wait to see your Vernon book, since I lived there years ago. Contact me at info (at)nebrownstone dot com. That way we can exchange phone numbers and pass on pics. Thanks, Russ

  3. very good diagrams and pictures of the canals and how the energy/ power was transferred to the upper levels. Nice job!

    several corrections on this segment:
    The Dam at Holyoke ( the dam is owned by Holyoke G&E) supplied water to the canals for the mills in Holyoke, MA. There are THREE levels of canals, allowing the water to be used THREE TIMES. There is an estimated 40,000+ horse power available at the dam….

    check out South Hadley Canal Park….it had the earliest inclined plane at the time. The barges used the plane and horse power to move their supplies up and over the elevation before the Holyoke dam was built.

    1. Hi Olivia,
      Thanks for the Kudos. Like I said, I’m no expert, just putting up what I can find before it disappears. I have yet to go to the canal park, but plan on it soon.

      The 3rd canal is deceiving. It seems to be level with the horse shoe shaped 2nd canal due to the road, but come to think of it there is a powerhouse on the 2nd canal on South Race street that discharges into the 3rd canal, so there has to be a height differential. For some reason I missed the labeling of the canal on the map.
      Thanks for the corrections. I’ll fix them.

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