October 28, 2009

Down into the Depths!

We're on a four part tour of the Holyoke Canal system. This is part two. In part one, I gave an overview of Holyoke and its canal system. Need a refresher?  Click here. In this post, we'll go inside Open Square to look at the waterwheels!

What in the hell is that?!?  That is an 1852 Fourneyron Turbine.  (That last hyperlink? A REALLY COOL WEBSITE.  But come back, okay?)
What in the hell is that?!?  That's the D wheel.   That's a Leffel Z water wheel.  No one knows why it's called the 'D' wheel, but trust us - it is. The Open Square complex originally had 13 mechanical wheels, and some were converted to electrical power in the 1920s, of which two remain active.  The other wheel is called the 'G' wheel.  Despite what mom says, between the 'D' wheel and the 'G' wheel, there IS a favorite.   But I'm not telling.
Our guide demonstrates how he matches the electric sin wave of the wheels to the sin wave of the grid before connecting the wheels to the grid. When the dial in the background gets to the 12:00 position, green lights flash and he punches a big red button. I shit you not. The list of folks approved to 'start up the wheel' is VERY SHORT.

Next post, we'll go down EVEN FURTHER into the canal system.


  1. This is exciting! I was in the basement the other day on a detour and was wondering where the wheels were.

  2. Hi, stopping by from SITS!

    What a neat tour! Thank you!! :))

  3. Wow! This is pretty cool! It somehow reminds me of my son's recent field trip to Bonneville Dam.

    Thanks for stopping over from SITS today!

  4. Hey Guys:

    I know this is not the correct forum but I thought you would enjoy an update on our Indian River Hydro. Enjoy:



    Bill Fay

  5. Hey Guys!!

    Thought you would enjoy this adventure. I sure did:


    William Fay PE
    West Ware, MA
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