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Minor Heretic


I read somewhere about the Amish in Pennsylvania transmitting power from small waterwheels with pairs of ropes. The ropes would be suspended off the ground on wooden T posts, with the ropes going through greased leather guides. Each rope would pull alternately on either end of a horizontal lever.

On a more modern scrapyard note, a friend told me about a junkyard owner who built his own waterwheel and transmitted the rotational motion through a series of scrap steering wheel assemblies up the hill to his shop.



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Kris, this is amazing. Do you have any idea of the efficiency of these systems?

Kris De Decker


These systems can be more efficient than electricity over short distances, say 1 or 2 km. In the next post we'll discuss efficiency when we talk about the improved systems from the twentieth century.

Chris Hall


Great post Kris - most informative. I had no idea about Stagenkunst.



Amish commonly uses this in Pennsylvania



"Single-rod engines could be used simultaneously by miners ascending and descending, provided that there was sufficient room upon the fixed platforms, while double-rod engines did not have this advantage."

It appears to me that double-rod engines would also have this advantage.



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Thank you so much for the good quality articles.



movie of stangenkunst



There is an historical restoration of a jerker rod system serving three oil wells at Moraine State Park between Butler and Newcastle, PA. A shed houses a restored Bessemer gas engine that powers the jerker gearing in an adjacent shed using a wide drive belt. Three rods leave the gearing house in different directions. Each is supported by a minimum of three tripods between the shed and the well. I think the maximum rod length is about fifty feet.

It appears that this may be powered up from time to time during the summer for demonstrations. One of the well heads appears to work; at least there's a barrel there to receive the pumped liquid.

Michael Kesper


A better plural form would be Stangenkunstwerke (Kunstwerk = artwork). Stangenkunsten sounds totally blinkenlights-speak.



Why did they move from cogwheels (I have seen some in medival water mills) to those connections? The rod of a cogwheel seems a pretty analogous contraption.

Melwin S Fernandez


I was looking for some idea to transfer reciprocal motion over some distance, after going through it seems wire ropes/cables do well.

Moritz Moeller


I always wonder how German words end up with these weird changes when they get replicated in English. It seems someone got it wrong and other authors just replicated (incl. this one).
It's Stangenkunst (no 'en' postfix)[1]. This literally translates to "the art of rods".

The postfix makes it sound like the plural of the word in a Scandinavian language or maybe Dutch. But it's neither. The German plural (not used) would be Stangenkünste (Stangenkuenste, with the umlaut written out). This would translate the "arts of rods"

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatrod_system


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