Wheel Album: Page Six
The Equality Mills, of Martinsburg, West Virginia, now owned by Honorable
Alexander Parks. Two Fitz Water wheels built in 1870 by John Fitz are still
in daily operation at this mill. At the old Fitz Foundry (the Tuscarora
Iron Works), across the creek from the mill, the first iron wheel ever built
by Samuel Fitz, in 1852 is still in operation.
The I-X-L Steel Overshoot Water Wheel is built entirely of iron and steel.
Its high efficiency is due to its correct principles of design and the high
class workmanship and material used in its construction.
The word "Overshoot" is simply an arbitrary spelling which we
adopted some time ago to distinguish our wheel from the ordinary "overshot"
water wheel. for the sake of brevity, out wheel is frequently referred to,
merely as "The I-X-L," or often as "The Fitz Water Wheel."
I-X-L means that their water wheels excel above all others.
We do not with to convey the impression that the I-X-L is the best wheel
for all locations or for all conditions. Our Field is in the development
and improvement of small water powers. By small water power we mean those
having falls of less than sixty feet and volumes of water smaller than 3,000
cubic feet per minute for single units of wheels. Even within these limits,
there are certain conditions to be met with occasionally which call for
other type of water wheels. Within its own field,m however, there is no
other type of water wheel in the world that can compete with the I-X-L.
Put you conditions up to our engineers and let us tell you what we can do
for you. We will guarantee in every case to greatly improve your power or
to let it alone.
The size of an I-X-L, depends largely upon the situation, but we usually
make the diameter about two feel less than the amount of the available head.
The force of the water above our wheel is not lost but act by its impulse
upon the wheel just as it acts on a turbine or impulse wheel. In other types
of overshot wheels this force is almost entirely wasted by the shape of
our buckets and our method of applying the water to the wheel enable us
to utilize this impulse. As will be seen from an operating original Fitz
Water Wheel, the water spurts across our smooth steel chute at a tangent
to the crown of the wheel. It enters the bucket a little back of the vertical
center line of the wheel and glides along the curved part of the bucket,
striking the heel of the bucket at right angles to the radius of the wheel
drawn to that point. Thus its power is communicated to the wheel in the
direction best adapted to produce the greatest effect.
The curve of the bucket is not the same in all sizes of wheels. It is
varied to suit the particular requirements. Proper allowance is made in
all cases to permit the exit of air from the buckets when water is entering.
The shape of the bucket is suck as to retain the water until all possible
power is taken from it. The water is actually retained in the buckets almost
to the level of the surface of the tail race.
The Housings of the I-X-L, instead of coming flush with the buckets as in
a wooden wheel, are extended so as to prevent any water splashing over the
sides. Thus not a drop of water is wasted and the water is discharged in
the tail race with all its power extracted. Compare the clam stream flowing
from the I-X-L, with the rushing torrent discharged by the turbine and you
will see one of our strongest points. No turbine gets more than 705 of the
energy out of the water, and the momentum of the tail race represents a
considerable part of the remaining 30%.
Practically no power is wasted by friction in the bearings of our wheels.
Fitz Wheels are so perfectly balanced and run with so little friction that
a little child can turn the largest wheel we ever built, with one hand.
Thus, we are able to transmit undiminished to the jack-shaft, all the energy
we have extracted for the water.
With each I-X-L, we usually furnish our "water-tight" iron gate
and steel "Chute." The gate of the I-X-L is a vary valuable feature.
On small streams in very dry weather, it is essential no save all the water
possible. A wood wheel or a turbine will often allow enough water to leak
away at night through its defective gates to run an I-X-L for several hours
a day. The I-X-L gate consists of two parts, a smoothly planed iron frame,
and a movable slab which is both planed and scraped to insure a very accurate
fit. Its is tight and at the same time it is almost perfectly trouble-proof.
The chute is the steel trough which carries the water to the gate to the
buckets of the wheel. This piece is necessary in every case, in order to
apply the water to the wheel at the proper tangent.
The object of all wheels is to utilize the weight of falling water and to
develop power thereby. The I-X-L, does this in the most direct manner and
therefore with the least loss. Turbines and other wheels, aim to develop
their power in an indirect manner by reaction or impulse caused by pressure.
To give even moderately good results they must be geared to run at certain
speed, under a certain pressure and using a certain amount of water. On
a variable stream, such as most are, these conditions are constantly changing,
thus causing great loss of efficiency to the turbine. Since the overshoot
depends mainly on the positive weight of the water and only in a small degree
on impulse, it can run fast or slow, with high head or low head, at full
gate or fractional gate, with equally high efficiency, and developing power
in exact proportion to the amount of water used.
The motion of the I-X-L, is slow. In order to drive fast running machinery
the wheel should be equipped with suitable gearing to obtain power similar
to that of the water turbine or steam engine.
The pitch back type of wheel is useful for certain situations where the
fall is too low for an overshoot and there is too little water for a turbine.
For situations where a pitch back is needed, we build the wheel as it should
Where, the fall is too low for any other type of water wheel the Poncelot
Wheel may be sued with great success. Our Poncelot Design is in accordance
with the best engineering principles and the wheel is built the same skill
and care that we devote to the Overshoot. We are glad to have an opportunity
to furnish advice and estimates for the development of any water power for
a variety of types of water wheels.
This is one of our popular plans for driving old mills where a wood wheel
was once used. The old gear can be used again by an ingenious method we
have of filling up the eye to suit our steel shaft. An old spur gear can
be sued the same way.
The plan is frequently used in mills where a turbine was formerly installed
or where the floors are too low to allow a master wheel to be used.
Source for above material: Information, photographs and drawings from
the I-X-L Steel Overshoot Water Wheel Catalogs, the Fitz Water Wheel Company,
Note: Save the plan drawings of the Fitz Water Wheels as images, they are
much larger in that format. Thank you.
See: The Fitz Water Wheel Co. of Hanover, Pennsylvania, advertises, with
a drawing of the I-X-L Steel Overshoot Water Wheel. The
Water Wheel Album: Page Nine- More Water Wheel Miscellany.
Samuel Fitz established the Hanover Foundry & Machine Co. in Hanover,
Pa., in 1840. Ten years later he established the Tuscarora Iron Works in
Martinsburg, W. Va. The two operations were combined in 1896. In 1899 the
firm became the I-X-L Overshoot Water Wheel Company, and on July 15, 1902,
it was renamed the Fitz Water Wheel Company. The firm soon came to specialize
in the manufacture of water wheels and small power plants, although it also
manufactured grain dryers and blowers. Samuel Fitz built his first iron
water wheel in 1852. His son, John Fitz (1847-1914), who succeeded his father
as head of the firm, developed the modern steel overshot water wheel. This
represented the refinement of a relatively primitive technology at a time
when large firms were developing high-power turbines for large factories
and central generating stations. Befitting its rural location, Fitz aimed
its product at farmers, small millers, and small town hydroelectric and
pumping stations. As a specialty producer, it sold its products throughout
the United States and also developed a strong export market, particularly
to rural areas and underdeveloped countries. Orders came from New Zealand,
Australia, Canada, South America, Africa, Indochina and all parts of Europe
with the exception of Russia. Fitz also manufactured impulse wheels, and
in the 1910s it acquired the sole manufacturing rights to the Burnham turbine.
Again, Fitz concentrated on turbines of under 150 HP. The spread of rural
electrification cut into Fitz's market, but John Samuel Fitz, who had succeeded
his father in 1914, kept the firm in business by adapting to changing conditions.
After 1930 many wheels were produced for "show" rather than productive
use. The firm made many model wheels and turbines for engineering schools
and produced many small turbines for the government during World War II.
It also became an important supplier to historic restorations of working
mills, including Colonial Williamsburg; the Old Pierce Mill in Rock Creek
Park in Washington; Stratford Hall in Virginia; the Historic Hudson Valley
Restoration in New York; and the Hagley Museum in Delaware. J. S. Fitz died
in 1965, and the firm was sold on September 1, 1966. James Leffel &
Co. of Springfield, Ohio, bought the machinery, inventory, patterns and
drawings. Leffel later sold the loom business to Heilig Brothers Manufacturing
Company of York, Pa. The real estate in Hanover was sold to Pen-Mar Foundries.
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