Polhem’s wheel, a large water wheel from 1876 with canal.
Self-guided tour. Well signposted.
You may borrow a key to
the wheelhouse in “Storkiosken” nearby. For a guided tour or information please contact the tourist office +46 (0)223 291 30.
Information: Norberg tourism.
Large water wheel, Wheelhouse, Remaining parts of wooden rods for power transmission
The Polhem wheel, serving the Mossgruvefält mines (of which Svinryggen is part) has been named after the technical inventor and constructor Cristopher Polhem (1661-1751). The idea of connecting wooden rods used for transmission of power already existed in Germany, but Polhem improved the capacity and solved various technical problems like how to convert the reciprocating motion into rotary motion of mine-hoist drums.
The wheel was supplied with water via the water conduit entering the north side of the wheel house. The conduit was connected to a three kilometre long canal from lake Bålsjön. An example of a turning point has been preserved and stands on the original place on the other side of the road Polhemsvägen.
The system was fitted with a bell that rang night and day as long as the system was in motion. If the bell stopped ringing, it meant that the pumps had stopped and something had to be done about it before the mine slowly filled with water.
The Polhem wheel was in operation from 1877-1920. It is remarkable that this 18th century technique was used for new installations as late as 1877, when steam power was already was available at Norberg. Also considering the fact that electricity was introduced at an early date by international comparison.
To make sure that there always was a sufficient supply of water to keep the Polhem wheel running at all times, a three kilometre long canal was built running from the nearest lake. Up to the top of the wheel there is a water conduit, which also is a big attraction to foolhardy youngsters who use it for climbing, running and cycling. In the canal and in the conduit there were always lots of cray-fish.
The canal has been preserved and makes a nice walk.
The key to the Polhem wheel can be borrowed in the kiosk close by.