Tyler Turbine Water Wheel

The Ledyard Up-Down Sawmill is powered by a John Tyler Water Turbine.

Tyler turbine
Rather than the picturesque wooden overshot waterwheel featured in romantic images of “Ye Olde Mill” on jigsaw puzzles, the Ledyard mill is powered by a workaday hunk of chipped and rusty cast iron seated in a stonelined and muddy pit in the lower level of the mill.  That is, the mill is powered by a manufactured horizontal water turbine. The turbine is a key element of the entire waterpower system of the Ledyard mill which consists of the watershed and Lee’s Brook, a holding pond created by a dam, a headgate controlling waterflow through the dam and into the mill penstock (water tank), and then via another control gate into the turbine which directly powers the mill gears and driveshaft.  (note:  for terms see Water Turbine Glossary this website)

The watershed for Lee’s Brook above the ~two acre millpond covers about 800 acres.  The waterflow is highly variable across seasons, and responds rapidly to rainfall which has resulted in breaching of the dam three or four times in the past 15 years.  Dry spells and winter ice limit the power that can be generated and, therefore, limit the times during the year when the mill can be operated.

The turbine receives water through a direct attachment to the bottom of the penstock.  A wheel near the saw on the main level controls the gate on the turbine, effectively acting as an on-off switch for the sawmill.  The top of the turbine can be viewed from the lower level of the mill since it is usually just above or below the surface of the water in the turbine pit.  The turbine vanes (blades) cannot be seen moving when it is operating, although the movement is readily inferred from rotation of the vertical shaft rising from the center of the turbine and terminating in a bevel gear.  The opening of the turbine gate also results, of course, in an immediate rush of water out the bottom of the tank and through the turbine, and the resulting turbulence in the pit is obvious.

During the restoration of the mill in the 1970s, the turbine was dug out the accumulated mud and debris of 30-plus years of freshets and dam breaches. The turbine was totally removed and re-set, and has been the power source of the sawmill since 1975 when the mill reopened. At that time, and in the subsequent years, several generations of volunteers have operated the mill and relied on the turbine for power, but very little specific information was known about the turbine since there are not any manufacturing marks or castings that might indicate what specific type of turbine it is.

Turbine auction notice
Research in 2011 into the history of the Ledyard sawmill revealed the name of a 19th century turbine manufacturer (Tyler) in a foreclosure sale notice in the classified pages from the March 10, 1880 Hartford Courant from another Ledyard mill (owned by Seth and Aaron Brown who were brothers of the Ledyard sawmill owner Israel W. Brown). Among the items at Aaron and Seth Brown’s 1880 foreclosure auction was a Tyler turbine. Did Israel purchase the turbine at auction and move it to his new sawmill on Lee’s Brook? Well, we don't yet know, but further research into Tyler turbines quickly resulted in images that looked very much like the turbine in the Ledyard sawmill. Subsequent research into manufacturer publications and advertisements and existing Tyler turbines at other historic mills in New England confirmed that the turbine in the Ledyard mill is, in fact, a John Tyler turbine.

Why was a turbine installed at the Ledyard mill instead of a waterwheel? A turbine as the engine powering a mill was typical for the period when the Ledyard mill was fitted out as a sawmill (late 1870s-1880s.) By that period, turbines had evolved from the relatively crude reaction-type wheels of the early 19th century into readily available modern power sources that could be ordered in a size suited for the specific mill seat and head, and with shafting and gears easily customized to the specific mill equipment configuration. Turbines often are not as susceptible to reduced flow when the water levels in the tailrace are high (backwater).  Perhaps best of all, turbines were iron and therefore did not require constant repair of a complicated waterwheel with wood components that began to rot from intermittent soaking even before installation was complete.

Turbine 1970s
The Ledyard sawmill turbine removed for the 1970s restoration.  Photo courtesy Ledyard Historical Society, 2011.2.0055

Turbine runner

The Ledyard sawmill Tyler turbine runner removed for repair in 2013
Bottom of turbine runner
The Ledyard sawmill Tyler turbine runner removed for repair in 2013 (bottom view)

The John Tyler Water Wheel Turbine

Tyler turbine from 1864 Sci Amer
The water wheel that John Tyler patented in the 1850s is a scroll-type, inward flow turbine made of iron.  There is a control gate which is built directly into the turbine inlet.  When the gate is opened, water flows into and around the scroll case, strikes the vanes on the runner, and flows out through the open bottom of the case.  Figure on the right is from Scientific American, v. 11, no. 19, Nov. 5, 1864, p 289.

The turbine runner was available in cast or wrought (and later machined) iron (at higher cost) in sizes from 9 to 72 inches diameter with appropriately sized runner shaft and curb (case).

An additional feature added to the Tyler wheel in an 1864 patent (see patent table below) is an adjustable step bearing mechanism which allows for raising the thrust bearing (termed a step bearing) that supports the bottom of the runner shaft.  These bearings are typically made from wood, so normal use causes wear of the bearing surface.

Interestingly, in contrast to many turbine designs, water flowing into the Tyler turbine curb through the control gate first strikes the convex side of the runner vanes.   This unusual enough that the first time the current group of Ledyard mill volunteers saw this when we inspected the turbine a few years ago there was speculation that the runner was installed upside down.  It isn’t, and not surprisingly, the feature was not only intentional, but was highlighted as an advantage of the design by John Tyler in a 1869 price list and catalog (p. 3):

"The water works upon the convex or rounding side of the buckets, and on their extreme points, bearing upon all alike at the same time, keeping the water unbroken. This is a new feature and entirely different from any other wheel. In the Boyden, Warren, Jonval, United States, Vandewater, Leffel, Dayton, and many others, the buckets are similar in form. The water strikes upon the con-cave or hollow side of the buckets, breaks, and thus loses much of its power, besides being liable to choke and fill up with anchor-ice and floating substances, or to break and get out of order. No intelligent mill owner or mechanic can fail to see this or the advantages in the shape of the Tyler bucket."

So, is the feature of convex vanes an actual advantage, or simply John Tyler’s salesmanship?  It would take a turbine engineer (which I am emphatically not) to make a technical determination of this for the overall Tyler design, but it’s clear that this feature did not persist in other turbines of the 19th century or today, or, in fact, in Tyler's own last two turbine patents.

Tyler’s original turbine was sold from the late 1850s into the 1880s and underwent several design changes that are summarized in the patent table below on this web page.  Sales progress can be tracked via claims in various Tyler ads and publications (though some of the sales after 1870 may include Tyler’s flume wheel, in addition to the original scroll wheel design):

 Number of turbines sold  Price of cast iron 30-inch turbine
reference (see ref. lists at page bottom) and notes
 1859  500 $175  Burlington Free Press, November 4, 1859, p. 4
 1864  1500 $350  Tyler pamphlet, pp. 1-2
 1867  2500    St Johnsbury (VT) Caledonian, August 9 1867. p. 4
 1869  3000  $300  Tyler catalog, pp. 2, 40
 1874  5000    Desjardins (2003), Figure 9
 1880  6000    McClintock (1880), p. 179.  For some context, the 1885 Leffel catalog claims that 11,000 of their wheels were in operation (p. 15).

Various biographies of John Tyler in Claremont and New Hampshire histories of the late 19th century ascribe both fame and wealth due to his turbine invention.  However, by the time of the 1892 edition of James Emerson’s Treatise (p. 61), the Tyler scroll wheel (of which Emerson had many compliments in the various editions of his book) was “of the past, and out of place where economy is desirable.” 

Tyler Wheels were used throughout the United States

The Tyler turbine was used in “most of the states and Territories” of the U.S and Canada. Based on the locations listed and testimonials in the trade pamphlets and ads in the bibliography below, a great many of these were in New England and the Northeast U.S.

There are a number of mills listed in communities neighboring or near Ledyard in southeastern Connecticut including:

    • Robertson and Bingham Paper Company of New London had paper factories in Montville and the Quaker Hill section of Waterford. One of the testimonials makes it clear that it was sent in response to a query from Tyler, but nevertheless Robertson and Bingham responded with positive comments including the fact that visitors to their new London paper mill “leave with saying they are astonished to see so small a wheel do so much work.”
    • E.D.Wightman grist mill, Groton
    • Isaac Cook woolen mill, Norwich
    • J.A. Lamb, mill, Mystic
    • Charles Scholfield grist mill, Montville
    • N. Hayward grist mill, Colchester
    • Millwright E.W. Dean of Norwichtown, CT “put in a large number of number of your wheels for different people” that have always given satisfaction and are the cheapest and most durable.
Testimonials list compliments to the Tyler wheel from mills all over the United States and including Shaker communities in both Enfield NH and New Lebanon NY and also the famous Slater mill complex in Rhode Island that was such a key early site in the U.S. during the earliest days of the Industrial Revolution.

Of course customer experiences and satisfaction can cut both ways. There are a number of testimonials published by Tyler that cite advantages compared to Leffel turbines including Sylvester Smith of of Seymour CT who said the Tyler turbine he installed was "better than a Leffel Wheel", but a 1868 Leffel pamphlet lists a half dozen testimonials indicating that the Leffel wheel was better than the Tyler wheels they had used.  S. Loring of Plymouth Massachusetts said that their new 26 ½ inch Leffel wheel could do 50 percent more work than the 36 inch Tyler Wheel they had previously. (1868 Leffel pamphlet, p 61)

Brief Biography of John Tyler

John Tyler was a New England millwright, businessman, and inventor in the latter half of the 1800s. He was born in Claremont in central New Hampshire in 1818. Perhaps his interest in water turbines and millwrighting came from his grandfather Benjamin Tyler who received a patent in 1804 for an improvement of the commonly used tub wheel which he termed a “wry fly” wheel; Benjamin’s 1804 patent has been credited as foreshadowing many of the key principles of modern turbines. (Photo of John Tyler from Biographical Review, vol. XXII.1907. p 327.)

John Tyler apprenticed as a millwright for seven years and then became foreman of the same millwright’s shop in Barre, Vermont until about 1850 when he moved back to his old stomping grounds in the Connecticut River valley of central New Hampshire in West Lebanon. In the 1850s in West Lebanon, John continued his work as a millwright and worked on his own new ideas around water turbines. His first patent for an improved turbine appeared in 1855, and his 1856 U.S. Patent 15309 has the basic turbine design which was manufactured in Claremont and sold by the thousands through the next three decades. Tyler continued to develop turbines and published additional patents until 1874.

 In the 1850s while still living in West Lebanon, John supervised the building of a large mill complex in Claremont that housed a large flour mill operation, and, not surprisingly was powered by Tyler turbines! This complex was built on the original site of "the old Tyler mills" built by John's grandfather Benjamin in 1785.

After 20 years in West Lebanon, John moved 25 miles south back to his hometown of Claremont, New Hampshire in 1870 where he continued his career as a business owner, inventor, and millwright. He started a water company which built a reservoir and aqueduct serving part of Claremont and was part of owner of an inn and steamboats on Lake Sunapee (25 miles east of Lebanon). In the 1880s, John was a part owner and president of the Sugar River Paper Mills Company in Claremont which purchased and occupied the mill buildings on the Sugar River that he had built 30 years earlier (one of which - the grist mill - is still standing today and in use as apartment residences).

John Tyler’s accomplishments as a businessman, inventor, New Hampshire legislator, and wealthy Claremont citizen were prominent enough to earn a notice in the New York Times upon his death at age 78 on November 28, 1896.

Tyler Turbine Power Ratings

What is the power provided to the Ledyard mill by the Tyler turbine? An estimate can be obtained from historic information in two pamphlets and an advertisement from the manufacturer in the 1860s (Turbine Power References refs. 1-3 below). It is not known if the 30-inch Tyler turbine at the Ledyard mill is exactly the same as the turbines which were tested to give the results reported in these Tyler materials. However, the plates of the turbines in the Tyler pamphlets appear very similar to each other, and also appear very similar to the Ledyard turbine (same overall shape of the curb and gate, has a footstep adjuster, etc.) Unfortunately, there are no markings or castings on the Ledyard turbine and no model numbers presented in the Tyler literature to clarify this issue.

Size of wheel


Measured horsepower










The typical working head of the Ledyard mill is in the range of 8-10 feet.  The head is about 9-9½ feet when the pond is full (with both flashboards in the spillway and depending upon the depth in the tailrace). Running the mill for 3 hours can drop the pond level 6-18 inches (depending pond refilling from the rate of inflow from Lee Brook.)











How might the Tyler ratings relate to actual power of the turbine in use? A check on the reliability of the Tyler ratings is provided by comparison to other published turbine testing data. James Emerson supervised testing of turbines from many manufacturers at the “Holyoke flume” facility of the Holyoke Power Company in Holyoke, Mass in the 1860s and 1870s (see Turbine Power References ref. 4 below.)  Although Emerson does not report data with a water head in the range of the Ledyard mill, he does show data for an 18.3-18.4 foot head which can be compared to the Tyler manufacturer data for 18 feet. The Emerson results are within 10% of the Tyler results, suggesting that the Tyler data for an 8-10 foot head is reasonably accurate.

hinged lip on turbine

Conclusions. Of course, all of the testing in the 1860s and 1870s was done in conditions likely to be closer to ideal for maximum power than the Ledyard mill regarding leaks, alignment, and other factors that might reduce turbine power. In particular, the Ledyard turbine has some damage to the turbine vanes and is also missing the hinged lips in the curb that complete the scroll shape of the curb (see figure on right); these differences from an intact turbine no doubt lead to a significant reduction in power from turbines that would have been used in manufacturers tests designed to show the turbine with optimal performance. So it seems reasonable to conclude that for the Ledyard mill, the power provided by the turbine is probably significant less than the 6.8 -12.8 HP (for a 8-9 foot head) measured by the manufacturer in the 1860s.  Not a very satisfactory estimate, but perhaps the best we can do without performing actual power measurements.

Turbine Power References

1.  Tyler, John. 1864. Tyler's improved water wheel. Patented in 1855, 1856, and 1858, and recently in 1864. 7 page trade pamphlet available online.  Power ratings on page 3. http://www.frenchriverland.com/tyler_turbine.htm

3.  Tyler, John. 1869. Tyler Improved Turbine Water Wheel. 40 page catalog and price list. Available from Purdue University Libraries, W.G. Van Name collection. Folder 19. Power ratings on page 8. Horton (p. 95, ref. 5) notes that the turbines for the Tyler 1869 list tests were made by the Sullivan Machine Co., Claremont, NH.

4. Emerson, James. Treatise Relative to the Testing of Water Wheels and Machinery. Second edition. Springfield: Weaver, Shipman and Co. 1878.  James Emerson supervised testing of turbines at the Holyoke Power Company in Holyoke, Mass in the 1860s and 1870s. The results were published in annual reports and collated by Emerson in several editions. The 1878 edition has information on several types of John Tyler turbines on pages 25, 67, and 86. The Tyler turbine tested on p 86 is likely the same as the Ledyard turbine.

5. Horton, Robert. 1906. Turbine Water-wheel Tests and Power Tables. USGS Water-Supply and Irrigation Paper no. 180. Series M, General Hydrographic Investigations 18.  Pages 44-183 of this volume is Horton’s paper. Has ratings for dozens of turbines including several different Tyler turbines. Includes a compilation of data from multiple sources: James Emerson’s tests at Holyoke, manufacturer’s publications, and the 1876 Centennial exhibition. Nice general introduction that includes discussion of different types of turbines.

Manufacturers of Tyler Turbines

 late 1850s
 Wm. Dripps & Co.
 Midway, Chester Co., PA

 Edward & Stevens
 Winooski, VT

 M. & J. H. Buck & Co.,  Lebanon, NH

 Vulcan Iron Works
 San Francisco, CA
 A large ad in the November 4 1859 Burlington (VT) Free Press includes a description of the turbine, testimonials, and a list of manufacturers.  The beginning and ending dates of the relationship of these companies with John Tyler is not known.
 Tyler manufacturers ad

 late 1860s

 Aetna Iron Works
 San Francisco, CA
Sole agents for this coast. (ad in Arizona Miner September 07 1867). The foundry at the Hanscom and Co. Aetna Iron Works (SE corner of Fremont and Tehama Streets) manufactured turbines, mining and other machinery (1867 San Francisco Directory, p. 47)   A November 25 1868 San Francisco Bulletin note (p. 3) on the city's machine shops indicates that Aetna had just built a Tyler turbine.   So, by 1867 Tyler apparently no longer was using Vulcan Iron Works as his West Coast manufacturer.

 Robert S. Slaymaker
 York County, PA
R.S. Slaymaker is cited as a manufacturer of Tyler wheels in Pennsylvania in an ad in St Johnsbury VT Caledonian (August 9 1867 p 4).  After his civil war service, he returned to his home in York County, PA where he was engaged in the manufacture of water-wheels until 1869. (Wiley, S.T. (ed.), Biographical and historical cyclopedia of Indiana and Armstrong counties, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia: Gresham. p 384)
 early 1870s

 Putnam Machine Co.  Fitchburg MA
from a manufacturer’s pamphlet from 1874:  Putnam Machine Co. Putnam Machine Co's. Works. Dole manufacturers of Tyler's new improved turbine water wheel. 1874.

 A Tyler wheel at the 1876 Centennial exhibition was manufactured by Putnam

Claremont, New Hampshire-based manufacturers of Tyler turbines

 late 1860s
 D.A. Clay & Co.,  Claremont, NH
 James P. Upham along with two business partners bought a small machine shop and foundry in Claremont in 1851 which operated under the name of the bookkeeping partner as D.A. Clay & Co. D.A. Clay & Co. was a general machine shop and foundry for several years which manufactured several machines including engine lathes, wood planers, circular sawmills, and Tuttle water wheels, a cast iron water wheel developed and patented by Ebenezer Tuttle in the 1830s and 1840s. In the late 1850s, Clay began to manufacture John Tyler’s patented water turbine which grew into an important part of the D.A. Clay business. The Tyler Wheel was exhibited at the 1856 Crystal Palace Exhibition in New York where it was awarded the highest prize medal for water wheels.

An operating Tyler turbine at the Old Mill Museum in Weston, Vermont is labeled in the casing as D.A. Clay & Co. (personal communication, Dave Peters, Weston, VT)
 J.P. Upham & Co.
 Claremont, NH
 By the early 1860s, James Upham was the sole owner and changed the name of the machine business was changed to J.P. Upham & Co. which continued to manufacture Tyler turbines. Upham continued to be the sole manufacturer of the Tyler turbine throughout this period. Upham & Co. also manufactured water wheel speed regulators and line of agricultural equipment.

A turbine at the Old Mill Museum at Weston, Vermont has cast into the curb cover:   MANUF BY J.P. UPHAM & CO. CLAREMONT, N.H.  (personal communication, Dave Peters, Weston, VT)
 late 1860s-  early 1870s

 Sullivan Machine Co.
 Claremont, NH
 In 1868, James Upham became president of the third generation of his machine business still located in Claremont and now named the Sullivan Machine Company with an initial capitalization of $200,000. Throughout the next several decades Sullivan grew and continued to manufacture Tyler water turbines and other mill power transmission equipment including shafting, gears, pulleys etc. Production of Tyler water turbines ceased sometime during the 1880s. During this period, Sullivan shifted the emphasis of their business to mining equipment and continued in that business until 1946 when Sullivan was merged into the Joy Manufacturing Company. Whether Sullivan was the sole manufacturer of Tyler turbines in this period is unclear. There are two ads for Tyler turbines in the 1870 Vermont yearbook - one (p. 155, see above on this web page) which suggests that orders for the Tyler turbine be sent to John Tyler who was still residing in West Lebanon NH at the time and another (p. 14, see below) that is from Sullivan (and also states that Sullivan has a "reduced list" of Tyler Water Wheels - may mean reduced prices). A few years later (1873) an ad in the New Hampshire yearbook indicates that Sullivan is the sole manufacturer of the Improved Tyler Turbine; a similar ad in the 1876 edition lists water wheels, but no longer mentions Tyler.

 1870s-  1880s

 John Tyler
 John Tyler is listed in Horton to have made turbines that were tested by James Emerson in the Holyoke flume in the 1870s.  Not clear if Tyler made wheels specifically for Emerson's tests, or whether he was also manufacturing turbines for sale in the 1870s.  New Hampshire yearbooks for the early 1880s (e.g., 1882 New Hampshire Register, p. 58) lists John Tyler of Claremont as a manufacturer of water wheels, so perhaps Tyler at that time no longer was licensing rights to others to manufacture his turbine.

Sullivan Machine Company

Buildings of the Sullivan Machinery Company, Main Street, Claremont, NH. 1871.  This photo is somewhat misleading since Sullivan also occupied multistory brick mill and factory buildings along the sugar River in Claremont.  Photo from from HABS HAER.  http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/nh0127.photos.104552p/


John Tyler turbine patents

U.S.  Patent

 Title/ Inventor




 Curb for Water-Wheels

 John Tyler, West Lebanon, NH
 Cast iron scroll water wheel with hinged lip (shown in blue) in curb. This patent is something of a dead end – the claim was not carried into subsequent patents (However, even in this original patent the drawing shows that water entering the scroll strikes the convex side of the runner vanes unlike most turbines of the time.)  patent 12927 pic



 Improved Water-Wheel

 John Tyler, West Lebanon, NH
The basic patent for the Tyler turbine which the design endured. The essentail description and drawings can be recognized in subsequent generations of patents from Tyler.

 The key claims are for shapes of the (1) top of the runner and (2) of the runner vanes (and therefore buckets) which are specified to have advantages over previous inventions. The drawing also indicates that Tyler abandoned the hinged lip in the curb that was the basis of US patent 12927 for a different design that had two hinged parts.

patent 15309


 Improvement in Water-Wheels

 John Tyler, West Lebanon, NH
Tyler continued to tweak the basic design first shown in US patent 15309 with an air-tight cap in the case cover that fits so so no additional journal box is needed for the runner shaft, and also an improvement of the sliding gate and stem gate.  patent 20456

 Improvement in Water-Wheels

 John Tyler, West Lebanon, NH
Tyler continued to refine the shape of the lower scalloped edges of the runner vanes

Tyler also now describes a handy (but complex and multi-component) step adjuster.  The step adjuster provides a method to raise the bottom step bearing upon which the runner revolves to make up for wear that can occur during normal use. This obviates the need to replace the bearing when worn.  Interestingly, although described, the step adjuster is not specifically claimed (perhaps because this invention was already known in other turbine designs and Tyler's claim in the application involving the step adjuster was ultimately not allowed.) 
Plate shown on the right of step adjuster is from US 52625.
step adjuster



 Improvement in Turbine Water-  Wheels

 John Tyler, West Lebanon, NH
This is still Tyler's scroll wheel, but this patent is something of a departure from the previous inventions in that not only is water flow in the scroll controlled by the gate, but also by an additional cylinder gate that surrounds the runner inside the scroll. There are attachments so that the gate and the cylinder move up and down together.

Plate from 52625 on right has the movable gate and cylinder rim highlighted in blue.
 movable curb cylinder


 Improved Water-Wheel

 John Tyler, West Lebanon, NH

 Reissue of 15,309 


 Improvement in Water-Wheels

 John Tyler, West Lebanon, NH
 Reissue (same date as RE3015) of 20456 with the addition of specifying the utility of of a two-part hinged lip in the curb (which, oddly, was actually introduced in 15039, not 20456).  


 Improvement in Water-Wheels

 John Tyler, West Lebanon, NH
This reissue combined the improvements from previous patents and reissues and, importantly, resulted in a patent extension of seven years of the original 14 year exclusivity period of the 1856 patent (and therefore until 1877.)

See Decisions of the Commissioner of Patents, 1870, pp 159-160 for discussion of the application and the Commissioners decision.  See bibliography below for comments on this text.


Improvement in Water-Wheels

 John Tyler, Claremont, NH

 This patent shows a major departure from his previous 
design in terms of the shape of the runner buckets - the vanes are now concave (though Tyler refers to this design as an "improvement in the buckets" of the previous design described in 15309.
 patent 130608 turbine



 Improvement in Water-Wheels

 John Tyler, Claremont, NH

Although again stated in the description to be an improvement of 20456 and now also 130608, this patent seems to my (naive) eye more of a new design than modification of the runner vanes from previous patents.
 patent 147351 runner

Turbine References part 1: John Tyler biographical material, Tyler turbine manufacturers and trade publications

  • Burlington Free Press, November 4, 1859.  Large ad for Tyler turbines and adjacent single column ad for Edwards and Stevens Co. of Winooski Falls, Vermont which listes Tyler's Water Wheels as part of their line. 
  • Desjardins, Pauline. 2003. Navigation and Waterpower: Adaptation and Technology on Canadian Canals. Industrial Archeology, vol 29(1), 21-47. Shows a plate (p 39) from a Tyler trade catalog at Old Sturbridge Village. Different from the 1869 catalog available at Purdue. The article was formerly available at historycooperative.org (but not online as of Sept 2013). 
  • HAER NH-3 Sugar River Grist Mill and Saw mill.  Description of the 1855 mill buildings in Claremont built by John Tyler in 1855 on the same site as mills first constructed by his grandfather Benjamin in the late 1700s.  The grist mill is still standing today, but the woodframe sawmill (added in 1866) was demolished during conversion of the grist mill to residences in 1982.  Accompanying photos from 1978 and drawings show the now-demolished sawmill.
  • Layton, Edwin T. Benjamin Tyler and The American Antecedents of The Hydraulic Turbine. Tools & Technology 5, no. 3 (1983). Benjamin was the grandfather of John Tyler. The Newsletter of the American Precision Museum. Cited in HAER VT-39 Robbins and Lawrence Armory. 
  • St Johnsbury (VT) Caledonian, August 9 1867. p. 4.  Advertisement for Tyler's Improved Patent Water Wheel!  Available 2014 via genealogybank.com subscription.  Ad was published in multiple editions of the Caledonian in the weeks prior and after this date.
 “The wheel, as covered by the two patents, has been largely manufactured, and extensively introduced, and is being made at the present time in almost, if not precisely, the identical form in which it was originally patented.” (my italics).

This statement is a bit at odds with the claims made both in Tyler’s advertising literature which continued to emphasize that the turbine was improved, and, in fact, with Tyler's statements in subsequent patents that the new patents show clear differences from the “form in which it was originally patented.”  

Turbine References part 2: Historical and technical information on turbines

  • Howard, Robert A. A Primer on Water Turbines. Bulletin of the Association for Preservation Technology Vol 8, no.4 (1976), pp 44-63
  • Hunter, Louis C. A History of Industrial Power in the United States, 1780–1930, vol. 1 in Waterpower in the Century of the Steam Engine. Charlottesville: Eleutherian Mills-Hagley, 1979.  Highly recommended.  Chapters 7 and 8 are particularly helpful in presenting the historical context for turbine development in the mid-1800s through 1900.  Available in many academic and engineering libraries.
  • Layton, Edwin T. Scientific Technology, 1845-1900: The Hydraulic Turbine and the Origins of American Industrial Research Author(s): Technology and Culture, Vol. 20, No. 1 (Jan., 1979), pp. 64-89
  • Mead Daniel W. Water Power Engineering. New York: McGraw Hill. 1908. Turn of the century engineering work with a brief historical discussion as well as chapters on hydrology, turbines. Includes a discussion of turbine testing at the Holyoke flume directed by Emerson. Page 9-11 has a list of advantages of turbines compared to waterwheels.
  • Reynolds, Terry S. Stronger Than a Hundred Men: A History of the Vertical Water Wheel. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1983.
  • HAER VT-39 Robbins and Lawrence Armory. HAER article on the Robbins and Lawrence Armory which is now the site of the American Precision Museum. Has discussion of waterpower mills and turbines. http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hhh.vt0163 http://memory.loc.gov/pnp/habshaer/vt/vt0100/vt0163/data/vt0163data.pdf