National Hydropower Association
Hydropower has been used in the U.S. since the late 1800’s and the origins of the technology reach back thousands of years. Ancient cultures from the Greeks to Imperial Rome to China used water-powered mills for essential activities like grinding wheat.
The precursor to the modern hydro turbine was developed in the mid-18th century. One hundred years later, inventors were steadily improving the efficiency of these technologies. In 1849, an engineer named James Francis developed the Francis Turbine, the type of turbine that is most widely used today. See the timeline>> hydro.org
A Brief History Of Hydropower
Some of the earliest innovations in using water power were conceived in China during the Han Dynasty between 202 BC and 9 AD. Trip hammers powered by the vertical-set water wheel were used to pound and hull grain, break ore, and in early paper-making.
History of Hydropower
Humans have been harnessing water to perform work for thousands of years. The Greeks used water wheels for grinding wheat into flour more than 2,000 years ago. The evolution of the modern hydropower turbine began in the mid-1700s when a French hydraulic and military engineer, Bernard Forest de Bélidor wrote Architecture Hydraulique.
In 1880, a dynamo driven by a water turbine was used to provide arc lighting– a technique where an electric spark in the air between two conductors produces a light – to a theatre and storefront in Grand Rapids, Michigan,…See the timeline>> energy.gov