Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Annals of water management... Poldergemaal Limmen, Akersloot

Since the Dutch polders are beneath sea level, water has to be pumped out constantly, otherwise the land would fill like a bath-tub. Originally, the famous windmills were used for this purpose
In 1879, the two windmills of Polder Limmen were replaced by a steam driven pumping installation, called a "gemaal"
The archimedic screw used by one of the windmills to pump up the water was kept and integrated in the steam powered installation. The teeth of the left wheel were from wood. Therefore they were easier to replace, since it happened frequently that a dead cow was caught in the mechanism... the farmers used to throw dead cows into the canals to get rid of them.
The transmission belt was made from thin leather stripes held together by screws. If one of the leather stripes broke, they were easy to be replaced without replacing the whole belt.
After 40 years the steam engine was replaced by an electric motor. Since the electric engine turned much faster than the steam engine, an additional drive wheel and transmission had to be installed under the roof of the building. The whole electric installation including the safety plugs, which were much bigger than now, is still there.
After 111 years of service, the whole installation was replaced by a modern electric pump in a little shed next door

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