Waterwheels

Waterwheels

The tilt hammers, blowing engine, grindstones and boring machinery were powered by waterwheels.

The power for the machinery was provided by four waterwheels, which were fed by the water from the River Sheaf retained in the four acre dam which lies behind the Tilt Shop.

The tilt hammers were driven by a backshot high breast wheel about 18ft in diameter and 5ft 6 inches wide which would develop around 30 horsepower. The axles and spoke are made of oak, the buckets of pitch pine and held in place with wrought iron plates, the axle bearings are of bronze.

Water is fed from the dame to widen pentrough fitted with a shuttle or sluice which controls the flow of water on to the wheel. A 6ft head o water is required to move the tilt machinery which weighs some 23 tons when in motion. The shuttle is operated by means of an iron shaft terminating in a long wooden handle inside the Tilt Shop situated within easy reach of the steeling hammer. The forgemaster used this to control precisely the speed of the hammer. The wheel pit constructed with a stone breast, traps the water in the buckets offering maximum efficiency to this type of wheel.

The same pentrough supplies water to the blowing engine waterwheel and to the small iron wheel beneath the Boring Shop powering a lineshaft to operate the boring machines. Both these wheels are overshot, the water entering the buckets at the top of the wheel causing it to rotate in the opposite direction to the Tilt and Grinding Shop wheels which are fed from the back.

The blowing engine waterwheel is 14ft 6 inches in diameter and 1 ft 0 inches wide and has wrought iron buckets. An iron pipe from the pentrough feeds water to a separate shuttle box situated over the wheel.

The Grinding Hull waterwheel is of similar dimensions to the tilt wheel but a little wider and it operates in the same manner, water being fed to a separate pentrough directly from the dam. The optimum working speed for this wheel was 6rpm.

Waterwheels Wednesday

See one of the four restored working waterwheels in action every Wednesday*

Did you know! Our very own team of engineers trained to conserve and restore the hamlet's four waterwheels. Follow them on twitter @hairyengineers

*Please enquire about running status before visiting