Tag Archive for Gadgets

Unintended consequences: motors driven by tap water

The small electric motor was probably revolutionary than the electric light bulb; people could get light from gas or candles, but the motor led to the development of fans and home appliances, and changed the way factories were designed and goods were produced. But before there was universal delivery of electricity, there was tap water, and Kris De Decker of Low-Tech Magazine describes how water-powered motors did many of the same tasks.


In Europe, small motors using the public water supply appeared in the 1840s. In the US, they came into extensive use in the 1870s and 1880s. A water motor consisted of a small water turbine that was suspended in a metal casing. The diameter of the turbine runner could be anywhere between from 20 to 90 cm. Read more

Aerator: More Air Equals Less Water

The easiest and cheapest way to begin conserving water right away is to install an aerator in your faucet. This simple device works by mixing air into the water flow so that the water does not fall as a solid stream. This reduces water consumption significantly without affecting convenience.

Aerators are really simple to fit; anyone can install one and special plumbing skills are not required. You can then start calculating how much money you are no longer throwing down the drain just a day after buying one.

Two different types of aerator are available, one for shower heads and one for regular faucets. Usually, they are able to cut the amount of water used, and wasted, by as much as 50%. Read more