Rusty turbine at Biddeford Mills, 2015

Contributed by Biddeford Mills Museum


Turbines were essential to powering the machinery in the Pepperell and Laconia mills from 1846 to the early 1900s, when the mills changed to electric power.

For several years, the mills operated solely on water power, but after a few occasional droughts the supply of water was insufficient to keep the mills operating. Large steam engine engines were installed, used only when needed.

Large underground tube canals harnessed and conducted river water, discharging it above the turbine wheel. As the water passed downward through the vanes of the turbine, it caused a vertical shaft to be rotated, which in turn was connected through gearing or belts to drive the mill machines. After passing through the turbine, the water flowed by gravity back into the river.

Most of the turbines and the steam engines at Pepperell Mills were scrapped during World War II. The turbine in this photo is one of the few remaining water turbines in 2019, now rusting in the cellar of the mill.

View/Add Comments

About This Item

  • Title: Rusty turbine at Biddeford Mills, 2015
  • Creator: Lamontagne, George
  • Creation Date: 2015
  • Subject Date: circa 1846
  • Location: Biddeford, York County, ME
  • Media: Digital photograph
  • Local Code: 549.DCC-0100
  • Collection: George Lamontagne Photographs
  • Object Type: Image

Cross Reference Searches

Standardized Subject Headings

Other Keywords

For more information about this item, contact:

Biddeford Mills Museum
2 Main Street, Suite 18-108, Biddeford, ME 04005
(207) 229-8976

This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. No Permission is required to use the low-resolution watermarked image for educational use, or as allowed by the applicable copyright. For all other uses, permission is required.

How to cite content on this site

Please post your comment below to share with others. If you'd like to privately share a comment or correction with MMN staff, please use this form.