How did ancient civilizations transform water power into different modes of mechanical power to produce food and goods? What made water mills so superior to manual labor?
This project looks at examples of different water mills from antiquity and their associated mechanisms and output motions. These motions were utilized for things like grinding grain into flour, cutting wood or marble, and pounding out raw ore fragments for smelting. Within each subcategory of output motion, the mills’ general designs are similar across historical examples. To demonstrate the intricacies of these designs, working scale models will be created from historical schematics and dimensional data gathered during research (from documented archaeological examples). These (3) models will be designed digitally and 3D printed – which is currently the best method to provide the most accurate scale representation of these ancient systems. The scale models will be easy for the viewer to interpret as a whole, so they can observe how each component works together as a system. The aim is to demonstrate how civilizations of the past were able to extract three different types of motion from just water-powered rotary motion; the precursors to fundamentally similar mechanisms that are used in countless machines today.