Long-distance power transmission predates the invention of electricity by almost four centuries. From the 1500s onwards, engineers developed mechanical power transmission and distribution technologies, called "Stangenkunsten", that became ever more sophisticated. Networks of pivoted, wooden field rods conveyed power from water wheels in the valleys to mining machinery up the mountains over distances of up to 4 km, operating pumps and bellows, hoisting ores, and transporting miners up and down shafts. Later systems replaced wooden rods by steel cables. Many Stangenkunsten remained in use well into the twentieth century, long after the introduction of steam engines and electricity.