The Greeks and Romans already had a good mastery of the transformation of water force into mechanical power.
At the time of the Industrial revolution the use of water power boomed in rural areas. As a result many activities such as the textile industry developed. The introduction of turbines insured better use of the power supply.
The use of water power in the Drôme
For about two centuries the power of rivers in the Drôme was used in the textile industry to supply the energy needed to power the throwing mills. This hydraulic energy powered various machines such as throwing machines, mills, and doubling machines.
The use of hydraulic energy meant building canals and mill races, and the installation of factories near the rivers. Power was first produced by mill wheels, then, later on, by turbines.
Drawing of a race, the canal which takes the water to the factory’s water wheel
Transformation of water power
The transformation of water power into mechanical energy required special architectural alterations inside mills. The distribution of energy was performed through a system of driving belts and pulleys lined up according to the number and position of work stations, the types of looms, and a sustainable organisation of the workshops.
Drawing of the power leverage principle and the transmission to the mills
The arrival of electricity
The change from wooden wheels to metallic turbines resulted in a qualitative and quantitative evolution of productivity. The development of the dynamo transformed mechanical power into electrical energy. The use of electricity, as early as the end of the 19th century improved working conditions. In 1899 Taulignan was one of the very first villages in the Drôme to benefit from electricity.