Flutterby™! : locks, lifts and the Falkirk Wheel

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locks, lifts and the Falkirk Wheel

2007-06-08 04:07:02.856162+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

Wow. How was I unaware of this? The Falkirk Wheel, also The Falkirk Wheel, is sort of a ferris wheel for boats, because apparently someone figured it was cheaper and easier to do this amazing feat of engineering than to build a lock or three on a canal. Here's a video of the Falkirk Wheel in action. (via Borklog)

However, those badass Belgians apparently just hoist their boat-containing tubs of water up with winches. There are apparently four roughly hundred year old lifts and the more recent Strepy Thieu one.

Growing up in upstate New York I had a strong dose of the history of The Erie Canal, and I remember my grandfather taking me to watch the locks on the Champlain canal. Then in the Chattanooga area the Chickamauga lock was a place to go sit (and talk and make out) late into the evening.

But as neat as the big machinery of locks is, boat lifts are in the badass "because we can" category of big machinery.

[ related topics: Invention and Design Chattanooga Boats Machinery New York ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2007-06-08 13:43:37.773674+00 by: petronius

Chicagoens still boast of how we used locks to reverse the flow of the Chicago River, back in the 19th Century. The idea was to keep sewage in the river from polluting Lake Michigan, our source of drinking water. Of course, we ended up just sending the gunk downriver, to the detriment of communities downstate. There is still a stretch of the river called Bubbly Creek, from the horrible fermentations that took place from all that waste.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-06-08 17:19:51.688757+00 by: ebradway

James Gentles - the guy how made the little black intervalometer that I attach to my cameras for KAP - made a great VR bubble of the Falkirk Wheel a couple years ago. The pictures were taken from a kite, of course:


#Comment Re: made: 2007-06-08 23:52:39.093461+00 by: ziffle [edit history]

It's awesome!

I am particularly impressed with the design so that each side is the same weight which makes it very efficient.

"The tanks are thus always equalized in weight, allowing the pull of gravity on the descending tank to do most of the work elevating the rising tank. This balance allows the wheel to consume very little electricity per turn despite the enormous weight involved. It uses a mere 1.5 kilowatt hours or roughly the equivalent power needed to boil eight kettles of water each time if hefts a 600 metric ton load. And it does this in under four minutes per turn."


Designed in Scotland - there is something about things designed in Scotland (or by Scots) that usually impresses me.

Now if I could only understand Gaelic.