Congress in 100% Agreement; Not a Single Dissenting Vote in the House or Senate
The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013 passed the House and Senate of the United States Congress without a single dissenting vote! The act changes some of the regulations and streamlines how government agencies work together in making it easier for hydropower stations to be built at sites of tens of thousands smaller dams that already exist throughout the United States.
It is believed that this act will streamline the approval process by getting the myriad of government agencies and bureaucracy to work better together. Imagine that, the House and Senate are in 100% agreement in voting on a bill mandating government agencies and bureaucracy work better together. It seems to be a matter of do as I say, not do as I do.
Two Hydro Manufacturers in York County should benefit from this Act. Voith Hydro in West Manchester Township and Weir American Hydro in Springettsbury Township. Both of these companies trace their lineage back to the S. Morgan Smith Company; established in York, Pennsylvania.
S. Morgan Smith received his first U.S. Patent for Improvement in Turbine Water Wheels on December 26, 1876. The following Figure 1 from his Patent No. 185,788 shows a cross section of that turbine water wheel.
S. Morgan Smith received this patent while still with the York Manufacturing Company. He retained rights to the patent and contracted with York Manufacturing Company to produce it. Continue reading to see how S. Morgan Smith transitioned from his initial Washing Machine business into Hydro Turbines.
In 1874 six men in York, Pennsylvania, contributed resources to jointly form the York Manufacturing Company. For now, I’ll just focus on S. Morgan Smith and Oliver J. Bollinger.
Stephen Morgan Smith contributed two washing machine patents valued at $20,000; since it was an already established product. Oliver J. Bollinger held a patent on a turbine water wheel. Bollinger and his group of investors contributed the Bollinger Turbine Water Wheel patent for a $4,500 stake.
Stephen Morgan Smith was selected the first President of the York Manufacturing Company. Oliver J. Bollinger became the company’s first mechanical engineer. While working for York Manufacturing Company, both these men continued to devise improvements to their products. As opposed to the practice at most companies today, Smith and Bollinger retained rights to any new patents.
Stephen M. Smith retained the rights to a November 3, 1874 U.S. Patent for Improvement in Clothes-Wringers and contracted with the York Manufacturing Company to produce it. Oliver J. Bollinger retained the rights to a June 1st 1875 U.S. Patent for Improvements to his Turbine Water Wheel, however decided to resign from the company shortly thereafter and go into business on his own.
Henry H. LaMotte, Oliver Bollinger’s cousin, and principal water turbine machinist also left York Manufacturing Company to join Bollinger’s new company. O. J. Bollinger initially had a thriving business; located along North Duke Street near Philadelphia Street. This illustration shows the cover of his 89-page 1878 Catalog showcasing the New Bollinger Turbine Water Wheel (U.S. Patent 163,914 on June 1, 1875) and Mill Machinery.
In 1882, the York Manufacturing Company expanded their facilities. Jeffrey L. Rodengen noted on page 16 of his book The Legend of York International, “The upgrade and expansion of the facilities attracted Oliver Bollinger, whose improved turbine water wheel was enjoying tremendous success in Europe and the United States. To meet increasing demand, Bollinger contracted with York Manufacturing Company to manufacture his wheels.”
When Oliver Bollinger resigned from the York Manufacturing Company, this original 1870 Turbine Water Wheel became an orphan within the company. S. Morgan Smith stepped in and took charge of this product. Smith’s first task was to hire a machinist to replace LaMotte. George Baugher was hired as the principal water turbine machinist.
Throughout 1876, S. Morgan Smith worked on improving the Turbine Water Wheel and applied for a patent on those improvements. From those efforts, Stephen M. Smith was issued his first Turbine Water Wheel patent on December 26, 1876.
The figure at the beginning of this post is Figure 1 in the Patent 185,788 Drawings. It represents, on an enlarged scale, a vertical section of the case, showing the wheel therein. This turbine water wheel type is known as a center-discharge wheel; i.e. the water enters from all sides and exits downward at the center of the wheel.
To give you an overall idea what Smith’s Turbine Water Wheel looked like, I’ve included the whole sheet of drawings in miniature. The most important sentences of a patent are the claims. In this patent, S. Morgan Smith claims three new features.
One—The bucket D, constructed with a vertical body part f, curved horizontally, and having upon its convex side a rearwardly-curved horizontal flange, f’, substantially as and for the purpose described.
Two—The water-wheel herein described, constructed with a series of buckets, D, inclined and curved in the direction of the movement of the wheel, so as to receive the water upon its convex side, substantially as and for the purpose described.
Three—The wheel D, composed of a series of buckets, inclined and curved in the direction of the movement of the wheel, in combination with the spider-frame carrying the step, the case B B’, and the pivoted gates A, operated by plate C, for the purpose of delivering the water upon the convex side of the wheel-buckets, substantially as and for the purpose described.
Turbine Water Wheels
Turbine Water Wheels did not have their beginnings in the 19th Century. Evidence suggests that the Roman Empire used a crude type of turbine water wheel. However this Roman Water Wheel was the rare exception to the traditional water wheels, such as those used on Grist Mills. These “Grist Mill” type water wheels, on a horizontal shaft, were the established method of extracting useful work from flowing water for Centuries.
It took advances in the understanding of hydraulics coupled with new materials and manufacturing methods during the Industrial Revolution to advance the turbine water wheel into the forefront. This advance did not happen overnight, it took almost 100 years for the turbine water type wheel to dominate. It was through the inventive efforts of men like Oliver J. Bollinger and S. Morgan Smith that resulted in this shift to the smaller and more efficient hydraulic turbine designs.Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts