Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Today's picture shows the Waterwheel at the Nethers, Virginia Mill. We saw other pictures of the mill the last few days. The waterwheel was an ingenious device that would use the natural flow of a stream to turn a wheel. The gravity acting on the water makes the wheel go around, providing a virtually free source of power for the mill.


  1. This looks to be a n overshot wheel. The mill near us - still in use as a museum - has an undershot wheel, which doesn't need a mill race to move the water.

  2. Lady Anne--
    Clearly you know your stuff on this. What is the difference between an overshot and an undershot wheel? And what's a mill race? What I noticed about this picture was the steep hillside in the background, no doubt accounting for the location of the mill in the first place. I imagine the mill is placed at a spot where the stream is tumbling down that hillside, not at a placid spot. Or would I be wrong about that?

    1. Thanks for the compliment! An overshot mill is used where the stream comes from a higher elevation. A mill race is essentially a trough built to divert the water and bring it to the top of the water wheel, as it is shown here.

      And undershot wheel is used when the mill is built directly beside a stream in a valley. The water passing under the wheel pushes it around; a paddle boat is a good example of an undershot wheel.


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