Posts from the “Transformation of the Economy and Society in Antebellum America” Category

How did the Lowell mills stop their energy?

By Lixsed G.

Actually, it’s very quiet simple how they stop the water, but first you must know about the Lowell Mills. Ok, so the Lowell Mills where water-power textile factories that employed women that would be built along the Merrimack River in canals. The Lowell Mills work by having huge water wheels underneath or beside them, that provided the power for spinning and weaving.

Dose having a river as your power sources meant that you keep running it into the night, because rivers only go one way and you can’t really stop the river? No, not true, the mills had a special wayto solve that problem. They used sluice gates to control the amount and power of the water that was reaching the wheel. A sluice gate is not what it sounds like – sadly it is not a gate that can slice juice – it is a gate that usually falls down but can slide out to stop and/or slow down the water. They where ten sluice gates^3 in which control the power from the river in the Lowell Mills.

The picture on the left is a mill from Scotland^2 though it’s very much like the same design that Lowell used. You could easily see in this diagram that if the sluice gate was brought down the water would stop e.i. slowing down production or stopping the factory entirely

To read more about how the Lowell’s Mills work or the layout of the system check out the third citation, also there is an easier understanding diagram on how the sluice works in the second page of the first citation.


  1. “THE REVOLUTION CAME BY WATER!” N.p., n.d. Web. <>.
  2. “The Falls of the Clyde, New Lanark Mills.” AboutScotland. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2012. <;.