Europe’s largest operational water wheel can be found near Laxey on the Isle of Man. When it came into service in 1854, it represented a long history of lead, zinc and silver mining and was a proud example of traditional British engineering in Victorian era. Driven by the power of falling water, the wheel (22 m in diameter) transmitted its power via a 150 m long series of rods to a pumping mechanism which pumped 1,100 l of water per minute from the mine galleries up to 180 m below the surface, achieving almost 200 HP. The inspired engineer Robert Casement constructed this massive technical wonder and it was called Lady Isabella after the wife of the governor at the time. The mines have long since been shut down but the wheel keeps on turning to the delight of thousands of tourists who come to admire it every year.
Dimensions: L: 10.5 m, W: 2.20 m, H: 1.08 m
Diameter of wheel: 88 cm
Driven: by water
Total weight: 19 t
Materials: concrete, natural stone, brass
Time taken: 2 years
Model makers: HTL Kapfenberg, Ing. Formanek (1996)