Water truly is the most precious and powerful resource that exists. Throughout history it has been harnessed for all sorts of things aside from drinking and feeding crops.
Technological innovation has had a massive effect on the distribution of water itself, with AI and the Internet of Things just starting to change the landscape.
If you are looking to compare business water suppliers after the deregulation of the water industry in the UK, look for the company that offers a future proof strategic innovation plan. How might they actually improve things?
Some miraculous innovations have relied upon water to work. Here are some of the most fascinating water-powered machines, some old and some new.
Power Generating Turbines
Water turbines are a hugely efficient method of generating environmentally friendly electrical power. They are mostly employed as part of hydroelectric dam systems. As water passes through a turbine at high pressure it forces blades to spin, which then convert kinetic energy into electricity through something akin to an alternating process.
The Water Mill
Although there is some debate about when and where the first water mill was made, the earliest confirmed example is thought to have been invented in the 3rd century BC. Philo of Byzantium was the first person to reference the design, but he may not have been the person to invent it. Regardless of who invented it, the water mill was an absolutely revolutionary machine.
It used a paddled wheel attached to a series of gears to drive a machine – usually a millstone in early examples. The paddled wheel was built in the path of a stream, which forced it to spin. This allowed for a perpetual source of power to be used for milling as opposed to a mule or person. Truly revolutionary! Water mills are still in use in some developing countries to this day, and are a truly environmentally-friendly way of generating power. The height of water mill usage was in the 17th century, when huge factories relied upon water wheels for the powering of spinning mules and looms. The wheels became vast, and the gearing used to convert the torque of the large wheels became complex.
The Steam Engine
Heresy, you cry, the steam engine is powered by combustion! Well, yes and no. The steam engine would not work without steam produced by boiling water. As more vapor builds up inside the boiler of a steam engine, it can be released to drive gears – producing motive power.
The most famous use of steam power is, of course, in rail travel. Steam-powered locomotives quite literally changed the way people viewed the world. Suddenly, goods and people could be moved vast differences quickly and efficiently. Aside from trains, steam-powered engines have been used to power everything from tractors to the pumps that first helped cities like London distribute clean water. Steam power really changed the world. Practical steam engines first emerged in the 17th century.
There you have it, the many ways that water created the modern world.