THIS WEEK THAT WAS – 20 MARCH 1847

Transmitting power from afar

An ingenious Yankee once proposed a huge over-shot waterwheel be erected over the Falls of Niagara. The main shaft was to run across country to New York, and, with the aid of belts and pulleys, give off the power required to grind corn, saw wood, roll iron, weave cloth, and so on.

We may smile at the scheme, but a race of giants would probably see nothing ludicrous or impracticable about it… It is not necessary that a waterwheel be close to the machinery it drives. Not long since it was seriously proposed to form companies for the supply of steam power in our own manufacturing centres. From each of these steam-producing centres, pipes were to be run to the various mills. The scheme would be quite practicable, except for the condensation and waste of steam in long pipes.