History of Water-Power in Korea, in Comparison with China and Europe


Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
LSI



Table of Contents


Third Draft (Final Draft), Oct. 22 2013
Second Draft , Oct. 15 2013
First Draft , Oct. 14 2013



Third Draft . . Go to Teacher's Comment

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
A. Background
B. Focus & Scope of Study
C. Organization
D. Terminology
II. History of Waterwheel in China
A. Ancient Origins
B. Song Dynasty
C. Yuan, Ming and Thereafter
III. History of Waterwheel in Korea
A. Introduction from China
B. Continuous Attempts to Spread the Waterwheel
C. Interaction with Japan
D. Shift from the Waterwheel to the Watermill
E. Remnants of Korean Waterwheels
IV. Brief History of Waterwheel in Europe
V. Comparative Analysis
Notes
Bibliography


I. Introduction
A. Background

Image 1 : Ornamental Waterwheel, Sil-li


            Korean Peninsula is a mountainous region where a significant portion of the landscape is shaped by fast-flowing rivers. Given this basic geographical fact about Korea, it would be reasonable to assume that the Koreans would have actively utilized the water as an energy source. In the past when the steam engines and electricity did not exist, one of the most popular methods of generating energy was through the usage of the waterwheel. Therefore, it would be expected that Koreans would have built many waterwheels to take advantage of the numerous rivers that flowing at perfect rates to rotate them. Surprisingly, one can completely undermine this assumption by simply traveling around Korean countryside. Figure 1 on the left side represents the typical type of waterwheel found in current day Korea. Although this waterwheel looks fine at a glance, it has one major problem. The water has to move uphill in order to rotate the wheel, a phenomenon which goes against the natural law of gravitation. As shown in this example, many waterwheels in Korea nowadays are merely decorative, technically not functional. Moreover, only few waterwheels from the past still stand as historical remnants. Only two waterwheels are currently registered as the official Korean historical heritages. This small number does suggest a significant trend. It implies that the Koreans had little interest in preserving traditional waterwheels that presumably have been considered not that important. This implication ultimately leads to a claim that the waterwheels did not play a major role in Korean history. In contrast, "China during Song Dynasty was on the verge of industrial revolution when its waterwheel technology had reached its zenith" (1). The major force that drove the industrial revolution in Europe before the invention of steam engine was the waterwheels tied to machines through belts. In this historical context, there exists an obvious discrepancy between how the Koreans treated the waterwheel technology and how the Chinese and Europeans treated it.

B. Focus & Scope of Study
            The purpose of this research is to comparatively analyze the history of waterwheel in mainly three regions: Korea, China and Europe in general. Although the history of the waterwheel dates back to ancient Rome, or even further back, this paper puts significant emphasis on the periods from 960 when Song Dynasty and Goryeo Dynasty flourished in China and Korea respectively. Please understand that there may exist gaps between each periods addressed in this paper. Some of the in-between history of waterwheel in China is purposely omitted to maintain a focus. Because this research focuses mainly on the interaction between China and Korea, the history of waterwheel in Europe is only briefly mentioned to establish a balanced comparison. The history of waterwheel in Japan is also briefly mentioned because there was a major exchange of waterwheel technology between Korean and Japan during the Japanese invasion of Korea in the 16th century. However, Japan is not one of the main regions addressed in this paper because the influence was ephemeral and not continuous throughout history. Through analytic comparison of these three regions, this research ultimately aims to answer three questions listed below.

            1) Why did Song Dynasty not reach industrial revolution even if it was on the verge of industrial revolution?
            2) Why did the advanced waterwheel technology of China not spread to Goryeo and Joseon, despite their intimate cultural and military affiliation with China?
            3) What prevented Koreans from developing advanced waterwheels and why were the usages of waterwheel so limited in Korea?

C. Organization
            The paper is first categorized by the three main regions(China, Korea, Europe). In each chapter, the history of the waterwheel is narrated chronologically, covering a general history but emphasizing certain periods. Most importantly, in chapter V, the different histories of each region will be comparatively analyzed to answer the questions mentioned above.

D. Terminology
            Some of the terms used in this paper might be very confusing due to their overlapping definitions within different cultures. Also, some of them are used distinctively in each region. Below is the list of key terms in this paper, provided to eliminate any confusion.

1) Waterwheel
            (Europe) A wheel that steadily rotates by the flow of water. This term includes any type of wheel that uses waterpower regardless of its purpose.
            (Korea) The definition is similar to that in Europe, but it technically includes only the wheels that are used for irrigational purpose. However, this term is often vaguely used by Korean scholars to mean any machine that contains a rotating wheel associated with water power (2). The Spanish called this type of irrigational waterwheel a noria - "a machine for lifting water into a small aqueduct, either for the purpose of irrigation or, in at least one known instance, to feed seawater into a saltern."

Image 2. A noria in Spain (3)

2) Watermill
            Waterwheel that is specifically attached to either millstones or hammers for the pounding of grains, or any other application.

Images 3,4. Sil-li Watermill, outside (left), inside (right), photos taken on May 26th, 2013

3) Tongbanga
            A Korean traditional watermill that does not use a waterwheel but instead uses a wooden lever that is pulled down by a water container. The container is constantly filled with water until the water inside is eventually released due to the gravity and pulls the lever down. The lever goes back up slowly as the water inside the container empties. The repeated cycle of the lever moving up and down pounds the grain placed in a hole as shown in the above photo.

Images 5,6. Sil-li Tongbanga, photos taken on May 26th, 2013

4) Muzayu
            Traditional Korean terminology for the waterwheel used for irrigation, especially in the salt ponds. Very similar to "Noria" and "Dragon-bone wheel" in style.

Image 7. Muzayu (4)

5) Dragon bone wheel(chain wheel)
            Traditional Chinese irrigational waterwheel invented during Han Dynasty

Image 8. Dragon-bone wheel (5)


II. History of Waterwheel in China

A. Ancient Origins
            Although this paper mainly deals with the advanced water-power technologies in Song Dynasty, it is necessary to trace their origins from the ancient time, for it is unreasonable to expect a set of advanced technologies to be spontaneously developed in only few hundred years of time.
            Xin Lun written by Huan Tan, the first text that mentions the existence of waterwheels in China, implies that the waterwheel was already in widespread use in China by 1st century. It also mentions a mythological figure Fu Xi who lived in about 20 AD. He developed a tool that very much resembled the pestle and mortar - very essential parts that probably evolved into the trip hammer (mentioned in the history of waterwheel in Song Dynasty). Although the mention of such devices is merely mythological, it is inappropriate to disregard the possibility that such tools actually existed in ancient China.
            According to Xin Lun, Du Shi, the engineer and Prefect of Nanyang, in 31 AD, used waterwheel to develop a machine that powers an automated furnace to create cast iron. Joseph Needham's supports this by saying, "Those who smelted and cast already had the push-bellows to blow up their charcoal fires, and now they were instructed to use the rushing of the water to operate it ... Thus the people got great benefit for little labor. They found the 'water-powered bellows' convenient and adopted it widely". (6) Surprisingly, the same machine also appears in the late records of the water-power technologies in Song Dynasty.
            Records also indicate that Zhang Heng (78-139) developed a water-clock that became the prototype of Su Sung's water clock in Song Dynasty.
            Chinese not only invented technological waterwheels but also developed waterwheels for agriculture. The Dragon-bone wheel, Chinese traditional irrigational waterwheel, was invented during Han Dynasty
            As shown in the above examples, the extraordinary usages of ancient Chinese waterwheel stretched into various fields including science, metallurgy, and agriculture.
            However, none of these ancient records show any pictorial models of those devices mentioned above. Nonetheless, historians face almost identical technologies in the records of Song Dynasty - when China went through the renaissance of its ancient technologies.
            During Tang Dynasty, the water-mill spread to other countries under Chinese influence, including Korea, Japan and Tibet (7). But it seems like only the agriculture function of the waterwheel got transferred to these regions, for none of the records from these regions during that time period mentions any manfacuring function of the waterwheels.

B. Song Dynasty & Early Yuan Dynasty
            *This chapter is mainly based on Joseph Needham's work and the documentary: Ancient Discoveries : Machines of Ancient China

            Derk Bodde, the author of Chinese Thought, Society, and Science, defines Song dynasty as a "renaissance" dynasty, for the scholars and historians emphasized their interest in the revival of intellectual products from the ancient China.
            Although the term "industrial revolution" is usually associated with Europeans, the fact that Chinese during the Song Dynasty were on the verge of industrial revolution should not be neglected. From 960 to 1279 A.D when the pace of Chinese pre-industrialization had reached its peak, Song Dynasty established an industrial foundation that allowed production on industrial scale. Culture flourished with various inventions such as the paper making technology, printing, compass, and gunpowder that were further developed during this period. Such claim is substantiated by the technological evidences listed below.

Image 9. An imaginary Village with Oil-Drilling Technology, Song Dynasty , Song Dynasty (8)


            The above is an imaginary photo above a town in Song Dynasty in which the oil drilling system was installed. As shown in the photo, pipes from the oil-drilling station connect the entire town, supplying the oil throughout the village. Considering that oil fuels engines that derived the industrial revolution, Chinese already possessed one of the keys to industrial revolution, yet they did not realize how to use it yet. The oil was mainly used to keep warmth by fueling fire.

Image 10. A Model of Automated Bellows powered by waterwheel, Song Dynasty. (9)


            However, they were adept at using water as their energy source. The photo above is an automated bellow powered by a horizontal waterwheel. While the conventional bellow required a person pumping air with his own hands and feet, this type did not need any human labor. Not only it helped reduce the burden of Chinese workers, it also made it possible for Chinese to deal with more sophisticated metallurgy, for the repeated influx of air into the bellow raised up the temperature inside higher than ever before. One noticeable structure in this bellow is the linear structure that transforms the rotational motion of the waterwheel rotating along with the river located below. The fact that the ancient Chinese already had almost identical device is something to be noted.
            More remarkably, there is additional evidence which indicates that the Song could manufacture metal. The below is a trip hammer connected to a long shaft rotating with a waterwheel.

Image 11. Trip Hammer, Song Dynasty (9a)


            The waterwheel could produce 400kg of force per single rotation. So these could not only crush grain, but also pound metal. This technology is also a revival of ancient Chinese thought as mentioned in the previous chapter. While the ancient people did not provide pictorial models for such devices, later Chinese scholars were generous enough to provide such explanation for their inventions. These mega waterwheels still remain in some regions in China. Chinese during the Song Dynasty could both melt and pound metals in industrial scale - a crucial prerequisite of industrial revolution.

Image 12. Textile Machinery run by water-power, Yuan Dynasty (10)


            Joseph Needham adds on to the list of advanced water-power technologies.
            "Particularly remarkable was the use, at least as early as +1313, of water-power for textile machinery. The Nung Shu illustrates a spinning-mill in which we see a vertical undershot waterwheel and a large driving wheel with a belt-drive on the same shaft working a multiple-bobbin spinning-machine for hemp and ramie, perhaps also for cotton… This should be enough to give pause to any economic historian, especially as Wang Chen clearly says that such installations were common in his time." (11) The textile machinery is shown on the figure above.
            Gearing technology is another key to industrial revolution, for it allows intricate operation of metal machines. Also, gears play a crucial role in handling the magnitude of power applied to certain machines. They also help machines to operate in larger scales. It is surprising that the Chinese applied such technologies to their waterwheels. Although the gearing technology had been existing since ancient times, nobody was faster than the Chinese in combining waterwheel and gears (Europeans began to attach gears to waterwheels in 13th century, a century after Song Dynasty). Nine Millstones are attached to the waterwheel below, rotating simultaneously to pound grains. In other words, The Chinese knew how to create maximum efficiency with limited power supply.

Image 13. A Model of Nine Millstones powered by single waterwheel, Sung Dynasty (12)


            Gearing technology was not the only skill that Chinese had mastered. Su Sung, a renowned Chinese genius astronomer and engineer, devised the world's first power-transmitting chain drive in his astronomical water-clock, which he claimed is an imitation the record of Zhang Heng's water clock from ancient China. Below is an excerpt from Joseph Needham's explanation of the water-clock.
            The mechanical clockworks for Su Song's astronomical tower featured a great driving-wheel that was 11 feet in diameter, carrying 36 scoops on its circumference, into each of which water would pour at uniform rate from the 'constant-level tank. The main driving shaft of iron, with its cylindrical necks supported on iron crescent-shaped bearings, ended in a pinion which engages with a gear-wheel at the lower end of the main vertical transmission-shaft… (Su Song's) clockwork, driven by a water-wheel, and fully enclosed within the tower, rotated an observational armillary sphere on the top platform and a celestial globe in the upper story. Its time-announcing function was further fulfilled visually and audibly by the performances of numerous jacks mounted on the eight superimposed wheels of a time-keeping shaft and appearing at windows in the pagoda-like structure at the front of the tower. Within the building, some 40 ft. high, the driving-wheel was provided with a special form of escapement, and the water was pumped back into the tanks periodically by manual means. The time-annunciator must have included conversion gearing, since it gave 'unequal' as well as equal time signals, and the sphere probably had this. Su Sung's treatise on the clock, the Hsin I Hsiang Fa Yao, constitutes a classic of horological engineering (13)

Image 15. The oldest chain-drive in any civilization, part of Su Sung's astronomical clock (14)

Image 16. Reconstruction of Su Sung's astronomical clock-tower (15)


            As shown in the above enumeration of technologies, Song Dynasty had almost everything ready for industrial revolution. They had all the materialistic prerequisites: oil drilling technology, metal manufacturing, and gearing. As mentioned in the later section "Brief History of waterwheel in Europe", what they had is very similar to the technologies found in Europe just before it reached industrial revolution. Some of the inventions, such as the gearing technology and the Su Sung water clock, were perhaps more advanced than the contemporary European technologies. Then what caused such huge big difference? The answer will be addressed in section V : Comparative Analysis.

C. Yuan, Ming and Thereafter.
            By the Yuan (1271-1368) and Ming (1368-1644) dynasties, the waterwheel technology had further improved. Nonetheless, there was no more distinct development of Chinese waterwheels after the Yuan and Ming dynasties. What is observed is a shift in the usage of waterwheels from the verge of industrial revolution to merely agricultural state. Although some records of technological waterwheels remain from Qing Dynasty, most of them are simply about the agriculture waterwheels that had been used since ancient times.
            After 16th century, Chinese began to adopt the European style irrigational waterwheel named "diancha" for irrigating water. This is a re-adoption of a technology that was long forgotten by the Chinese. They already had a very similar style waterwheel called the "dragon-bone wheel" in Han Dynasty and Song Dynasty. Unfortunately, the reason why such technologies had to be readopted is not clearly answered. The frequent changes of ruling authority and the foreign invasions might serve as a reason that caused the regression of waterwheel technology in China.

Image 17. Chinese adoption of European Style waterwheel for agriculture (16)


III. History of Waterwheel in Korea
A. Introduction from China
            In Korean history, the word "waterwheel" first appears in a book from Goryeo Dynasty. According to Goryeosa (the history of Goryeo) (17), in 1362, one liege named Baek Mun Bo of king Gongmin suggested that the adoption of waterwheel technology from the Jiangnan province of China would be helpful for the farmers who often struggle with irrigation during drought periods. He explains to the king that the advantage of Chinese farmers over drought. He said, "the farmers in Jiangnan are not afraid of droughts because they have the waterwheel. Our farmers struggle during droughts because they don't know how to irrigate water from the river just a meter below the farmland. It would be a great help for the farmers if we would adopt the waterwheel from Jiangnan and enlighten our farmers with it so that they can fight the droughts more easily" (18) . The waterwheel which Baek Mun Bo observed should have been the chain-wheel type, called dragon-bone wheel, for these type of waterwheels is still used in modern day Jiangnan. Although it would have been reasonable for the king to take some action upon such request, not much is known about how the king reacted to this proposal afterward. No documents of Goryeo after 1362 show any trace of waterwheel.
            About a century earlier than 1362, there is a record of the King and Queen sightseeing a waterwheel in 1276, but this records lacks any detailed support. (19)
            There is a source that suggests the first record of waterwheel is even earlier. The History of Japan suggests that one monk from Goryeo named Dam Jing first introduced the watermill to Japan in 610 (20). In fact, Joseph Needham insinuates this incident in his book by saying, "During the Thang, the water-mill had radiated to other countries in the Chinese culture-area, to Japan (via Korea) in +610 and +670 and to Tibet about +641." (21)
            However, this claim is less credible because the original primary source uses the term "Yeon-ae" which can basically indicate any type of mill powered by animals, water, wind and etc. But the record does itself explain that the mill was somewhat associated with water.

B. Continuous Attempts to Adopt and Promote the Waterwheel
            More records of the waterwheel are found in the documents from Joseon Dynasty. According to Joseon Wangjo Sillok (Annals of the Joseon Dynasty), King Taejong in December 1406 encouraged his people to build the waterwheel and supported them by constructing few waterwheels per each town as samples and ordering the local government officials to construct additional waterwheels (22). This incident was the first time in Korean history when the government 'officially' encouraged its people to utilize waterwheel. That it was supported by the king is also a significant fact. However, it is not clear whether the waterwheel they tried to adopt was from China or Japan. Because the waterwheel technology had already spread from China to Japan long ago, and because Joseon and Japan had already established a diplomatic trade relationship by sending ambassadors in 1404, Koreans could have adopt either type of waterwheel from these two countries.
            The next record of the waterwheel appears again in the records of King Sejong. Park Seo Sang, a Korean ambassador who visited Japan in 1429 brought back a mimic diagram of a Japanese waterwheel. Park did not officially gain the model from the Japanese government. Rather, he was motivated to remake a similar model after his companions had observed the automated waterwheel of the Japanese farmers. While the Japanese waterwheels were completely automatic, the old waterwheels of Korea needed both human power and the flow of water(Dragon-bone wheel from Jiangnan). Upon Park's vehement request to spread this type of waterwheel among farmers, Sejong actively carried a plan to popularize the usage of waterwheel in Joseon. Koreans distinguished this waterwheel by calling the new Japanese waterwheel 'Wae-sucha' and the old Chinse waterwheel 'Dang-sucha' (23). Sejong ran few test cases to confirm whether these waterwheels were actually effective or not. These tests proved that the waterwheel was greatly effective for irrigation. In 1431, Sejong sent mini-models of this waterwheel to the local rulers and ordered them to build waterwheels according to those models. He also assigned local officials who exclusively dealt with the construction of new waterwheels. The construction of the old type of waterwheel from Taejong's period also continued along with the new type. The fact that Sejong assigned officials designated only for the spread of waterwheel shows his serious attitude toward promoting the waterwheel to a country-wide trend. Sejong even promised to give royal awards to farmers who successfully utilize the new waterwheel technology (24).
            However, Sejong faced two major problems in the process of carrying on this project. First, the rivers which Sejong intended to irrigate the water from were slow-flowing wide rivers. Because the Japanese model was suited for fast-flowing narrow rivers, the slow flow of the Korean rivers was not powerful enough to rotate the wheels automatically. Therefore, a device on which a person could generate additional energy by pedaling was attached to the model, turning the automated waterwheel to not-automated. The other problem Sejong had to deal with was the soil. The Korean soil soaked water so well that even though the irrigation of water from the river up to the farm land was successful, the farm land failed to contain the water long enough for farming. Sejong's waterwheel project ultimately ended after the officials reported him of this inefficiency.
            The efforts to develop the irrigational waterwheels continued throughout Joseon dynasty, but the results were never as effective as that of the other irrigation methods popular in Joseon. In 1488, Choi-Bu, a government official under Seongjong, tested new Chinese waterwheel in Gyeongi Province. In 1502, Yeonsan-gun denied Kim Yik Kyeong's request to build additional waterwheels (25). Yeonsan-gun claimed three reasons for not constructing anymore waterwheels. "First, waterwheels are difficult to control and manage. Second, the waterwheels become futile when severe droughts take place. Third, farmers do not need to irrigate water by waterwheel if it there is enough rain."
            Although these claims partially constitute Joseon's reluctance to develop waterwheels, the major reason was the dominant popularity of the other irrigation methods. In 16th century, Cheon-bang and Je-eon were the two popular methods used for irrigation. Cheon-bang is an irrigation method which utilizes series of small dams, and Je-eon is the irrigation method which uses the water reservoirs. Because these two methods were so popular and well-working, the kings paid little attention to developing any other type of technology like the waterwheel.
            In 1650, Hyojong, a prince who was kidnapped to live in China when the Qing invaded Joseon, expressed his will to promote the Qing style waterwheel when he came back to Joseon to become the king. And in 1783, Seo Ho Su suggested King Jeongjo to adopt Yongmi-cha (Archimedean screw), a type of western waterwheel introduced by a western priest by the name of Sabbathino de Ursis. S. de Ursis was a priest who came to preach China in 1606 and helped Chinese write books on a Western technology. So the Koreans didn't necessarily learn directly from him but from the books that Chinese had written based on his knowledge. (26) This type of waterwheel was generally of better quality than the Chinese waterwheels and was better suited for larger rivers. Jeongjo's interest in the waterwheels continued. He attempted to install few waterwheels in his Hwaseong Fortress, but these attempts failed due to financial issues. This suggests that the construction of the waterwheel was not his first priority in building his fortress. Although many books like Haedongnongseo (a book on Korean agriculture in general) (27) from this period mention about the waterwheels, though many Joseon scholars were fascinated by the enlightened ideas of the West, none of the theoretical designs were actually used to construct real waterwheels. (24)
            After the 17th century, the government somewhat continueed to promote the waterwheel, but none of these trials had a significant impact on modern Joseon society as did the attempts in previous centuries. What actually takes place instead, is the shift of focus from the waterwheel to the watermill. While the previous attempts focused exclusively on the irrigational function of the waterwheel, Joseon kings from the 17th century shift their gears toward the watermill for pounding grains. The reasons behind this shift will be addressed in an upcoming chapter.

C. Interaction with Japan
            The possibility of early interaction between Goryeo and Japan was suggested in the previous chapter. The interaction of the Joseon ambassadors with Japan during King Sejong's period is already addressed in the previous chapter as well. Therefore, this chapter focuses on the interactions between Joseon and Japan that took place around 15th century.
            The Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592 turned out to be a failure, though it left a devastating impact on Joseon. When the Japanese retreated from Korean Peninsula in 1598, they brought Korean potters with them because they envied the advanced pottery industry of Joseon. Among the potters was Lee Chan Pyeong who founded a new pottery industry in Arita, Japan. Such potters produced tools that they needed for pounding the ingredients for their pottery. Potters in Joseon had traditionally been using Tongbanga. So when the potters were brought to Japan, potters like Lee built similar Tongbangas based on their memory. Those Tongbangas were later used for pounding the grain as well.
            The Japanese word for Tongbanga suggests that it came originally from Joseon. In Kyushu, the Japanese word for Tongbanga basically means 'Korean Mill' (29). Although most of the Tongbangas in Korea are now all gone, there are still many left in Japan which are currently in-use.

D. Reasons Behind the Shift from the Waterwheel to the Watermill
            As mentioned in the previous chapters, there were a number of attempts to promote the usage of the waterwheel throughout Joseon dynasty. In general, there were several discrepancies between the conditions of Korea and China that determined the success or failure of adopting the waterwheel technology. There were roughly three reasons why such attempts to spread the waterwheel turned out to be futile in the Korean peninsula. "First, the soil of the farmland was different from that of China. Second, the irrigational condition of the water sources was different. Third, the agricultural condition and economic problem that existed throughout Joseon Dynasty" (30).
            The locations where the Chinese utilized the irrigational waterwheel were mainly centered on regions with vast plain and wide rivers like Jiangnan, through which the Yangtze River passes by. The soil in such regions mainly consisted of clay which did not absorb much water. The rivers always had a huge amount of water flowing fast throughout the year. The Chinese did not use the waterwheels in mountainous regions. However, most of rivers in Korea are slow-flowing and almost seem to be stationary in some regions. During droughts, the rivers completely dried up, making it impossible for the farmers to use their waterwheels. During summer, there were many cases when it rained so much that the farmers did not need the waterwheels at all to irrigate any additional water to their farms. These reasons are supported by the cases of Park Seo Sang's and Kim Yik Kyeong's case that were mentioned in the previous chapter.
            The primary reason that Koreans did not utilize the waterwheel for irrigational purpose was mainly the geographical condition of the Korean Peninsula. While the rivers over-flew during summer, they were too shallow in the other seasons to use waterwheels; the rivers were inconsistent. The dynamic change of climate throughout the year and the vulnerability of the rivers made the other irrigation methods in Korea more effective than the waterwheel. Because many rivers flowing in mountainous regions are shallow and inconsistent, they were not suitable to run the waterwheels. Consistency was the key in using the waterwheel which the Koreans did not have. But this still does not answer the question why they did not apply this waterwheel technology to any other machines like the engineers of Song Dynasty did.
            Then why did such attempts persist throughout the 500 years of Joseon Dynasty? It would be normal to give up on a policy if it continuously fails. In the late Joseon Dynasty, the farmers adopted a new type of farming method called Yi-Ang bup which required much more water to be irrigated than the traditional way of farming. The need to irrigate more amount of water eventually led to attempts to develop and utilize the waterwheel to some extent.
            Moreover, the introduction of the new farming method led the waterwheel to change its form to the watermill, so called Mullebanga. As the production of food increased due to the new farming method in 17th century, there were more grains to be grinded. Although the existing types of mills had no problem grinding before 17th century, they weren't enough once the food production had increased. The number of mills powered by oxen decreased because the farmers needed the oxen to work on the farm land instead, and the number of oxen was very limited. Because Mullebanga was 17 times more effective than the traditional mills, it enabled the farmers to focus more on 'farming' than grinding their product. In general, Mullebanga greatly contributed to the increase of agricultural production of Joseon since the 17th century. Although waterwheel was thrown off by other irrigational methods in Korea, the other irrigational infrastructure such as dams and water reservoirs were very helpful for providing the adequate water source for the watermills.

E. Remnants of Korean Waterwheels
            As engines operated by fuel and electricity were introduced to the farmers in 20th century, the traditional watermills gradually lost their place in Korean agriculture.
            The traditional watermill was modernized by 1930. Although the wheel that generates the power maintained the same style even in the modern time, the structure inside the watermills completely changed with modernization. Although the traditional watermills were connected to wooden levers that repeatedly went up and down, the modern watermills were linked to belts that connected various machines together.
            Currently, only two watermills are registered as the official Korean historical heritage. This chapter explores these two watermills as the representative of modern Korean waterwheels.

1) Sil-Li Watermill/Tongbanga
            One of the two Korean watermills addressed in this paper is located at Sil-li, Dogye-eup, exact GPS location of being 37 11'020 1290874. Sil-li watermill was designated as a national historical heritage in 1975. The date when it was built is unknown, but it is a typical 18th century Korean watermill. According to the locals, until 2003, the mill was still in use by the person who built it, so it would be reasonable to assume that it was built around early 1900s.
            A trip to this watermill suggested how Koreans disregard the true value of their traditional watermills. The below is an observation from a trip to Sil-li waterwheel in May 26th, 2013 and July 7th, 2013.
            Although the roads to historical sites are usually well-guided, it wasn't the case for this mill. Because it was hidden behind the guard rail of the road, it was necessary to pass by the same place thrice before discovering that the watermill was actually there. The guiding plates were inaccurate, and the mill seemed to be very minor compared to the other parts of the historical sight.
Image 18. Sil-li Waterwheel (32)


            The above photo is the Sil-li waterwheel. The wheel part has recently been renovated, but there was no water flowing to actually rotate it, for the waterway was blocked by large stones. If there were any water, the water would have flowed in the upright direction and the wheel would have rotated forward. However, the axis which connects the wheel and the mill wasn't properly set. Also, the mill didn't have a mill stone. Instead, it had a T-Shaped mortar that grinded the grain. The mortal is located in a deep hole that would contain grains.


Image 19. Sil-Li Tongbanga (33)


            Sil-li Tongbanga is located about few kilometers from the Sil-li watermill, GPS location being 3712035 12908000 The condition of Sil-li Tongbanga wasn't perfect. Many parts including the axis weren't at their original positions. In order for this mill to function properly again, it would require a renovation process as suggested in An Architectural Feature Study on the Restoration of Tongbanga-House at Samcheok (Daei-li) (33) which wrote about the renovation of another Tongbanga at Samcheok.
            Another totally unexpected Tongbanga not far away from Sil-li, GPS location being 3719432 12912786. One remarkable thing about this Tongbanga is that it was located nowhere near water. It seemed like that it was removed from somewhere else. This unknown Tongbanga suggests that Samchoek is a region that is very closely associated with watermills.

2) Baekjeonli Watermill & General Trends


Image 20. Baekjeonli Watermill (34)

Image 21. Baekjeonli Watermill (inside) (35)


            One unique characteristic of Baekjeon-li watermill is that the power generated by the watermill does not directly pound the grains. But, it powers an engine which is connected to several machines that are used for pounding grains. Similar types of waterwheels connected with belts were the crucial source of energy during the industrial revolution(before the Second industrial revolution).This watermill is has not been used since it was designated as one of the historical heritages.
            Below is a table that shows the distribution of remaining watermills in Korea(includes those that aren't designated as historical heritages). In 2006, it was reported by the Korean Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries that there are currently 114 still functioning watermills: 56 in Kyeong-nam, 13 in Jeon-buk, 11 in Kyeong-buk, 11 in Jeon-nam, 7 in Chung-buk, 6 in Chung-nam, and 6 in Gangwon. And it was reported that 38 watermills are no longer in use. Most of these non-functioning watermills are either destroyed or preserved just for the beauty. The oldest watermill was built in 1850. Watermills built before the year 1950 were mostly built out of wood, but after they were built with metals and more tenable materials. The table below illustrates that more watermills are currently being used in Korea than expected. But still, only some Koreans pay attention to these old waterwheels today.

Table 1. Watermills in Korea (2006) (36)
Province Year built Functioning Not Functioning
Kangwondo 1963, 1975 6 4
Chungcheongnamdo 1950, 1957, 1967-1973 7 0
Chungcheongbukdo 1900-1956, 1970 9 4
Cheollanamdo 1881-1995 11 7
Cheollabukdo 1850-1960 13 9
Gyeongsangbukdo 1921-1956 11 8
Gyeongsangnamdo 1880-1978 56 4


IV. Brief History of Waterwheel in Europe


Image 22. Ancient European Water Turbine (37)


            The origin of modern industry dates back to the late 18th and early 19th century when the traditional human-powered labors were replaced by the revolutionary steam engines. But, in even earlier times, people seek to help themselves by utilizing the water power. It was in 8 and 9th century when the European first actively began to utilize water power.
            One of the prevalent ways by which the Europeans utilized was the installation of the waterwheels. The mechanics of the early models of waterwheels were relatively simple compared to the later waterwheels that were associated with gearing technology. The early waterwheel rotated horizontally along with the flow of the river, and it was connected directly to a millstone through a vertical shaft that transferred the power generated by the rotation of the wheel. However, this early model was only 5-15% efficient and generated about one horse power of force on average.
            There are two other types of major European waterwheel : the overshot and the undershot. The undershot and overshot waterwheel were invented by Hellenistic engineers between the 3rd and 2nd century BC.
            The undershot waterwheel generated energy through the reaction force produced by the water flowing under. Although such type of waterwheel could operate in any slow-flowing rivers, it worked best in closed water ways. A typical waterwheel operated at an average of 20-30% energy efficiency (38), producing energy about five times that of the ancient water turbines.
            The overshot waterwheel generated energy through the gravitational force that pulls down the buckets attached to the wheel as they are filled with the influx of water from water flowing from above. One bucket after the other are filled and then emptied repeatedly, making the wheel rotate continuously. This type of waterwheel required larger dams and waterways located above the wheel since it could not deal with a large amount of flowing water compared to the undershot waterwheel. But with only small amount of water and with little height difference of 3-12 meters, it could be operated at 50-70% energy efficiency, producing about 2-40 horse power on average. However, these numbers are not accurate figures because no primary source accurately documents the power output of waterwheels before 1700.
            One of the key factors that contributed to the change in technological paradigm in European history was the Rule of Saint Benedict which laid its foundation on the laws established in early 6th century (39). There were two special characteristics with these set of rules. First, the monks, living communally under the authority of an abbot, were encouraged to devote a strict amount of time to laboring, reading, studying, and meditating. Second, monks had to distance themselves from the secular society by maintaining a self-sustainable living environment - a factor that seems more significant historically, for it stimulated their need to develop water-powered technology. They could save more time for praying and studying by spending less time on manual labors that the watermills had substituted for them instead.
            The center of medieval water-power culture was mainly located near the rivers that flowed into the Bay of Biscay, the English Channel, and the North Sea. Because there were hundreds of small or medium size tributaries, it was convenient for people there to engage in water-power development.
            The Cistercian Order was one of the most active groups that engaged in promoting water power. By 1300, there were more than 500 Cistercian monetary in Europe; most of them owned at least one watermill, and some of them even had more than five or more. Another factor that contributed the spread of water power in medieval Europe was the feudal lords who looked for more profit from the serfs and farmers who worked on their lands.
            Therefore, the growth of the European water power technology is attributed to its social, economic, and geographical factors. Since the 9th century, waterwheels were operating throughout Europe. In late 11th century, England under the control of Norman had 5,264 watermills, and in late 13th century, France had 95,000 operating watermills.
            The emphasis of waterwheel technology eventually shifted to transforming the rotational energy into various other forms, so that people can utilize water power more creatively - they saw the potential of the waterwheel in fields other than agriculture and irrigation. The engineers from 10 to 15th century focused on transforming the rotational motion into a set of linear operation. They devised two mechanical structure that served their goal : the Cam mechanism and Crank Shaft. Cam mechanism is a rotating or sliding piece in a mechanical linkage used especially in transforming rotary motion into linear motion or vice-versa. (40) A crank is an arm attached at right angles to a rotating shaft by which reciprocating motion is imparted to or received from the shaft. It is used to convert circular motion into reciprocating motion, or vice-versa (41).


Image 23. Cam Mechanism (left) (42), Image 24. Crank Shaft (right) (43)


            Terry S. Reynolds claims that the Europeans learned paper making from Chinese in the early 12th century (44). In fact, the earliest place in Europe where paper was made is Xativa (Jativa), Spain (in the 12th century, Muslim Spain) (45). Thus Europeans learned paper making from Arabs who had learned it from the Chinese. The process involved pounding of the rags underwater. In late 13th century, Europeans used trip hammers connected to waterwheels for that purpose. Trip hammers used for paper making is one of the most significant applications of the cam mechanism. By 14th century, significant number of Europeans were utilizing these hammers for various purposes.


Image 25. Furnace bellows worked by a vertical water-wheel (46)


            However, Cam mechanism had a more significant impact on European metal industry. In medieval Europe, the ironmasters used to melt stones in bellows that were filled with air pumped by human power. The cam mechanism was used for two functions : first in the trip hammers that were used to pound the stones to be manufactures, and then to constantly blow air into the bellows.
            Terry S. Reynolds, the author of Medieval Roots of the Industrial Revolution, claims that the Chinese and Arabs did not have either the trip hammer or bellows associated with the waterwheels. This is definitely not true, for the Chinese already had almost identical mechanisms in Song Dynasty(and even back in ancient Han Dynasty) as mentioned in the previous section.


Image 26. An Overshot waterwheel connected to a mining pump by crank shaft (47)


            Crank shaft, the other mechanism that transforms rotational motion to linear motion, was already present in 2nd century China. But it first appeared in Europe in 9th century and was attached to waterwheels in 10th century. Waterwheels with crank shaft were mainly used for water pumps and silk mills.
            From 1550 to 1750, Europeans were utilizing water power in almost every manufacturing system that dealt with weapon making, metals, chemicals, silk, cloth and so on, a phenomenon, an eminent precursor of industrial revolution.
            As the industrial revolution took place in Europe from about 1760, waterwheels and watermills changed their forms according to the new industrial paradigm. By 1880s, most waterwheels were connected to rollers belts that transferred the energy to engines and turbines, which is the style of waterwheel seen in recent Korean waterwheels like the Baekjeon-li waterwheel. The below is an example of silk manufacturing factory that used a single waterwheel as the source of energy. But the machines ran by the factory are all industrialized.

Image 27. Silk Manufacturing factory powered by waterwheel connected by belts (48)

V. Comparative Analysis
            As the last section of this paper, this chapter aims to answer the four primary questions from a comparative perspective.

1) Why did Song Dynasty not reach industrial revolution even if it was on the verge of industrial revolution?
            Derk Bodde, the author of Chinese Thought, Society, and Science, defines Song Dynasty as a "renaissance" dynasty in which political weakness coupled with great economic development, urbanization, spread of printing, rise of Neo-Confucianism, decline of Buddhism. This definition of Song Dynasty perhaps implies the key reason that Song could not reach the industrial revolution while the Europeans could. The social structure and political instability were the two main factors that circumvented Song from crossing the threshold to industrial revolution.
            In order to investigate the reason of failure for Song Dynasty, it is necessary to take a close look at how the Europeans became successful. European history is defined by the severe competitions among the divided states that were ruled by separate authorities and ruling groups. Because there was no single central authority that governed everything, technological development could be separated from the political changes that continuously affected Europe. This fact does not mean that scientific advancement was of mere importance; advanced technologies, especially those associated with weaponry, was a determining factor in fight of numerous European states against their competitors. Private institutions that were not associated with political authorities patronized various scientific researches, providing an environment in which engineers could freely realize their creative ideas that gradually built up the "industrial revolution". Such competitive ambience was the energy that fueled the engine of European technological advancement. The point that the change occurred in Europe was from the bottom rather than top should be noted, for that is the major difference between China and Europe.
            The first possible explanation for Chinese failure is the tendency of Chinese families to hide their secrets. While Europeans were relatively more generous about sharing their intellectual knowledge with their neighbors, Chinese families tended to keep their technological skills top confidential, for such knowledge enabled the family to make a living out of it.
            The second possible explanation derives from the political structure of China. Chinese Dynasties had traditionally substantiated their power with the Mandate of Heaven because it was hard to control such gigantic group with weak rationale. For the same reason, they prevented the public from forming private associations or institutions, which possibly could undermine the central authorities. An overly strong central authority lead to no change from the bottom, and prevented creative ideas from being funded free of government interference. Therefore, Chinese engineers were susceptible to the lack of continuous patronization, for the arbitrary kings constantly changed their minds.
            As Mongols took over China, there were nobody left to support such huge projects that required country-wide patronages. Although the technological development continued to some extent during Yuan and Ming dynasty, China failed to persist through the threshold of the industrial revolution. And by 16th century, China's waterwheel technology had experienced a devastating regression - they were readopting their ancient waterwheels from the Europeans.

2) Why did the advanced waterwheel technology of China not spread to Goryeo and Joseon, despite their intimate cultural and military affiliation?
            The first official record of waterwheel in Korean history is found in Goryeosa(1362) as mentioned previously. It is important to notice that Yuan Dynasty was in power from 1271 to 1368. Therefore, the waterwheel that Baek Mun Bo was trying to bring, although was an invention from Song Dynasty, was already under the control of Mongols. This simple fact allows three speculations to be made.
            First, the waterwheel technology was already in decline because the royal patronage from the Song dynasty could not continue after the invasion of the Mongols. Although, the Mongols would have known about the advanced waterwheel technologies, they would not have paid much attention to them because their primary focus was expansion, not sophisticated technologies that were perpendicular to weaponry. It seems like that the Mongols accidently disregarded the possibility of metal manufacturing through those remnants of watermills (Trip Hammer & Automated Furnace). Therefore, Korean scholars like Baek Mun Bo would not have had the chance to take a look at the once glorious waterwheel culture of Song Dynasty.
            Second, Joseon Dynasty, which was built upon Neo-Confucian ideals, would have been reluctant to learn anything from Yuan Dynasty which they considered as barbarians. This might be the reason why King Gongmin did not respond to Baek Mun Bo's urgent request to adopt Chinese waterwheels, for it would be a shame to learn a technology(considered low-level deed) from barbarians.
            Lastly, Yuan Dynasty could have known the true potential of the waterwheel technology they had. If that's the case, they would have kept it as top secret, for Goryeo and Joseon were possible threat to their stability.
            Above speculations are reasonable but they should not be regarded as the absolute right answers for the question.

3) What prevented Koreans from developing advanced waterwheels and why were the usages of waterwheel so limited in Korea?

            There were several factors that hindered Koreans from developing advanced waterwheel technologies. But among those reasons, lack of interest?present not only among the lower class farmers but also among the royal patrons such as the kings?played the most crucial role. In other words, the prevalent reluctance among Koreans to adopt and invent new technologies prevented them from taking a step further with their merely agricultural waterwheels.
            Geographical condition is one of the superficial reasons. Yeon San-gun, one of the kings who failed to promote waterwheel during Joseon Dynasty claimed that waterwheels are useless because they are difficult to control and manage, because the waterwheels become futile when severe droughts take place, and because farmers do not need to irrigate water by waterwheel if it there is enough rain. His claims are in fact reasonable to some extent, for Korean rivers from which they tried to irrigate water from were usually slow-flowing inconsistent rivers. An inundating river might be completely dry during Spring or Fall, an arbitrary natural condition that made it very difficult to run waterwheels during certain times of year. Because building waterwheels required quite some resources, money, and time, it would have been burdensome to build such luxurious device just to use for short periods of time. However, such claims are a representation of the king's lack of interest in persisting to develop the waterwheels. Koreans could have altered the ways rivers flew just by digging some tributaries from the rivers, if they had been very serious about utilizing waterwheel for agriculture.
            Another incident that shows the reluctance of Korean kings to treat the building of waterwheels seriously. Although Jeongjo, the enlightened king and pioneer of European technologies showed interest in building waterwheel in his Hwaseong fortress, the plan was eventually canceled due to financial issues. Waterwheel was definitely not his first-priority interest.
            Now, it's not hard to imagine the reason why Koreans couldn't think of using the waterwheel for industrial power source; they were struggling even with the very basic function of the waterwheel and could not think beyond the superficial function of it. Also, the inconsistency and relentless changes in the policies of different kings made each waterwheel project discrete. The interest of several kings did not continue long enough to establish advanced waterwheel technology in Korea.
            There is a similarity between China and Korea in that waterwheel and other technologies were promoted by the authority at the top, and not by private institutions at the bottom. The Neo-Confucian principles encouraged people to look down at people who engage in technological deeds, thereby discouraging the entire population from developing creative thoughts about science and technology. Koreans perhaps showed little interest in technology, not because they innately disliked them but because they were forced to do so. As shown in the comparison between Chinese and European history, an advancement in technology is only achieved though the competition among ambitious private engineers. Therefore, the very same reason why the Chinese could not reach industrial revolution applies to Korea as well.


Notes
(1)      History Channel : Ancient Discoveries : Machines of Ancient China
(2)      Kim 2007 p.181. He criticizes Lee Chun-nyeng and Chae Young-am (1990) for misusing the term waterwheel in their work The Waterwheel of Korea
(3)      Wikipedia : Noria
(4)      Lee 1990 p.2
(5)      ibid. p.17
(6)      Needham 1965 p.370
(7)      ibid. p.401
(8)      History Channel : Ancient Discoveries : Machines of Ancient China
(9)      ibid.
(9a)      ibid.
(10)      Needham 1965 p.405
(11)      ibid. p.404
(12)      History Channel : Ancient Discoveries : Machines of Ancient China
(13)      Needham 1965 p.390
(14)      Needham 1981 p.46
(15)      ibid.
(16)      Lee 1990 p.33
(17)      Goryeosa 1362, Volume 79. Chapter 33
(18)      Lee 1990 p.16
(19)      Park 1988 p.51
(20)      Ibid.
(21)      Needham 1965 p.404
(22)      Lee 1990 p.17
(23)      Park 1988 p.52
(24)      Ibid.
(25)      Kim 2007 p.172
(26)      Ibid. p.174
(27)      Seo, Haedongnongseo 1798
(28)      Kim 2007 p.175
(29)      Lee 1990 p.10
(30)      Kim 2007 p.170
(31)      Photos taken by Alexander Ganse, May 26th, 2013. Used with permission
(32)      ibid.
(33)      Choi 2008
(34)      Photos taken by Alexander Ganse, July 6th, 2013. Used with permission
(35)      ibid.
(36)      Lee 1990 p.45
(37)      Discovery Channel, More Industrial Revelations Europe : 02 Bread, Beer, and Salt
(38)      Efficiency : the ratio of energy output to input during energy conversions
(39)      Reynolds 1984 p.110
(40)      Wikipedia : Cam Mechanism
(41)      Wikipedia : Crank Shaft
(42)      Needham 1981 p.36
(43)      ibid.
(44)      Reynolds 1984 p.110
(45)      Wikipedia : Xativa
(46)      Needham 1965 p.381
(47)      Lee 1990 p.32
(48)      Documentary: Ancient Discoveries : Machines of Ancient China
(49)      Bodde 1993 pg.5




Bibliography
History of the Korean Waterwheel

History of the Chinese Waterwheel
Needham 1965      Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, Volume 4: Physics and Physical Technology, Part 2, Mechanical Engineering, 1965
MoC Documentary : Machines of East : Machines of China, Discovery Channel, Ancient Discovery, 2003
MoAC Documentary : Ancient.Discoveries.Machines of Ancient China.III, History Channel, 2003
55 Days Movie : 55 Days at Peking, Nicholas Ray, Samuel Bronston Productions, 1963
Bodde 1993      Derk Bodde, Chinese Thought, Society, and Science, Univerisity of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1993
Smil 2004      Vaclav Smil, Energy in World History, 2004
Needham 1981      Joseph Needham, Science in Traditional China : A Comparative Perspective, Harvard University Press, 1981
Wik. Su song Wikipedia : Su song, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Su_Song

History of the European Waterwheel
Gimpel 1976 Jean Gimpel, The Medieval Machine : The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages, 1976
MIRE 02 Documentary : Discovery Channel, More Industrial Revelations Europe : 02 Bread, Beer, and Salt, 2010
MIRE 09 Documentary : Discovery Channel, More Industrial Revelations Europe : 09 Cutting If Fine, 2010
Hansen, n.d. Roger D. Hansen, Water Wheels, http://waterhistory.org/histories/waterwheels/waterwheels.pdf
Reynolds 1984 Terry S. Reynolds, Medieval Roots of the Industrial Revolution, Scientific American, vol. 251, No. 1, July, 1984, p.108-116
Wik. Noria Wikipedia : Noria, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noria
Wik. Xativa Wikipedia : Xativa http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X%C3%A0tiva
Wik. Cam Wikipedia : Cam Mechanism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cam
Wik. Crank Wikipedia : Crank Shaft http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crankshaft



Second Draft . . Go to Teacher's Comment

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
A. Background
B. Focus & Scope of Study
C. Organization
D. Terminology
II. History of Waterwheel in China
A. Ancient Origins
B. Song Dynasty
C. Yuan, Ming and Thereafter
III. History of Waterwheel in Korea
A. Introduction from China
B. Continuous Attempts to Spread the Waterwheel
C. Interaction with Japan
D. Shift from the Waterwheel to the Watermill
E. Remnants of Korean Waterwheels
IV. Brief History of Waterwheel in Europe
V. Comparative Analysis
Notes
Bibliography


I. Introduction
A. Background

Figure 1


            Korean Peninsula is a mountainous region where a significant portion of the landscape is shaped by fast-flowing rivers. Given this basic geographical fact about Korea, it would be reasonable to assume that the Koreans would have actively utilized the water as an energy source. In the past when the steam engines and electricity did not exist, one of the most popular methods of generating energy was through the usage of the waterwheel. Therefore, it would be expected that Koreans would have built many waterwheels to take advantage of the numerous rivers that flowing at perfect rates to rotate them. Surprisingly, one can completely undermine this assumption by simply traveling around Korean countryside. Figure 1 on the left side represents the typical type of waterwheel found in current day Korea. Although this waterwheel looks fine at a glance, it has one major problem. The water has to move uphill in order to rotate the wheel, a phenomenon which goes against the natural law of gravitation. As shown in this example, many waterwheels in Korea nowadays are merely decorative, technically not functional. Moreover, only few waterwheels from the past still stand as historical remnants. Only two waterwheels are currently registered as the official Korean historical heritages. This small number does suggest a significant trend. It implies that the Koreans had little interest in preserving traditional waterwheels that presumably have been considered not that important. This implication ultimately leads to a claim that the waterwheels did not play a major role in Korean history. In contrast, "China during Song Dynasty was on the verge of industrial revolution when its waterwheel technology had reached its zenith" (1). The major force that drove the industrial revolution in Europe before the invention of steam engine was the waterwheels tied to machines through belts. In this historical context, there exists an obvious discrepancy between how the Koreans treated the waterwheel technology and how the Chinese and Europeans treated it.

B. Focus & Scope of Study
            The purpose of this research is to comparatively analyze the history of waterwheel in mainly three regions: Korea, China and Europe in general. Although the history of the waterwheel dates back to ancient Rome, or even further back, this paper puts significant emphasis on the periods from 960 when Song Dynasty and Goryeo Dynasty flourished in China and Korea respectively. Please understand that there may exist gaps between each periods addressed in this paper. Some of the in-between history of waterwheel in China is purposely omitted to maintain a focus. Because this research focuses mainly on the interaction between China and Korea, the history of waterwheel in Europe is only briefly mentioned to establish a balanced comparison. The history of waterwheel in Japan is also briefly mentioned because there was a major exchange of waterwheel technology between Korean and Japan during the Japanese invasion of Korea in the 16th century. However, Japan is not one of the main regions addressed in this paper because the influence was ephemeral and not continuous throughout history. Through analytic comparison of these three regions, this research ultimately aims to answer three questions listed below.

            1) Why did Song Dynasty not reach industrial revolution even if it was on the verge of industrial revolution?
            2) Why did the advanced waterwheel technology of China not spread to Goryeo and Joseon, despite their intimate cultural and military affiliation with China?
            3) What prevented Koreans from developing advanced waterwheels and why were the usages of waterwheel so limited in Korea?

C. Organization
            The paper is first categorized by the three main regions(China, Korea, Europe). In each chapter, the history of the waterwheel is narrated chronologically, covering a general history but emphasizing certain periods. Most importantly, in chapter V, the different histories of each region will be comparatively analyzed to answer the questions mentioned above.

D. Terminology
            Some of the terms used in this paper might be very confusing due to their overlapping definitions within different cultures. Also, some of them are used distinctively in each region. Below is the list of key terms in this paper, provided to eliminate any confusion.

1) Waterwheel
            (Europe) A wheel that steadily rotates by the flow of water. This term includes any type of wheel that uses waterpower regardless of its purpose.
            (Korea) The definition is similar to that in Europe, but it technically includes only the wheels that are used for irrigational purpose. However, this term is often vaguely used by Korean scholars to mean any machine that contains a rotating wheel associated with water power (2). The Spanish called this type of irrigational waterwheel a noria - "a machine for lifting water into a small aqueduct, either for the purpose of irrigation or, in at least one known instance, to feed seawater into a saltern."

Figure 2. A noria in Spain, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Noriacristina.JPG

2) Watermill
            Waterwheel that is specifically attached to either millstones or hammers for the pounding of grains, or any other application.

Figure 3. Sil-li Watermill, photos taken on May 26th, 2013

3) Tongbanga
            A Korean traditional watermill that does not use a waterwheel but instead uses a wooden lever that is pulled down by a water container. The container is constantly filled with water until the water inside is eventually released due to the gravity and pulls the lever down. The lever goes back up slowly as the water inside the container empties. The repeated cycle of the lever moving up and down pounds the grain placed in a hole as shown in the above photo.

Figure 4. Sil-li Tongbanga, photos taken on May 26th, 2013

4) Muzayu
            Traditional Korean terminology for the waterwheel used for irrigation, especially in the salt ponds. Very similar to "Noria" (1) and "Dragon-bone wheel" (5).

Figure 5. Muzayu (3)

5) Dragon bone wheel(chain wheel)
            Traditional Chinese irrigational waterwheel invented during Han Dynasty

Dragon-bone wheel


II. History of Waterwheel in China

A. Ancient Origins
            Although this paper mainly deals with the advanced water-power technologies in Song Dynasty, it is necessary to trace their origins from the ancient time, for it is unreasonable to expect a set of advanced technologies to be spontaneously developed in only few hundred years of time.
            Xin Lun written by Huan Tan, the first text that mentions the existence of waterwheels in China, implies that the waterwheel was already in widespread use in China by 1st century. It also mentions a mythological figure Fu Xi who lived in about 20 AD. He developed a tool that very much resembled the pestle and mortar - very essential parts that probably evolved into the trip hammer (mentioned in the history of waterwheel in Song Dynasty). Although the mention of such devices is merely mythological, it is inappropriate to disregard the possibility that such tools actually existed in ancient China.
            According to Xin Lun, Du Shi, the engineer and Prefect of Nanyang, in 31 AD, used waterwheel to develop a machine that powers an automated furnace to create cast iron. Joseph Needham's supports this by saying, "Those who smelted and cast already had the push-bellows to blow up their charcoal fires, and now they were instructed to use the rushing of the water to operate it ... Thus the people got great benefit for little labor. They found the 'water-powered bellows' convenient and adopted it widely". Surprisingly, the same machine also appears in the late records of the water-power technologies in Song Dynasty.
            Records also indicate that Zhang Heng(78-139) developed a water-clock that became the prototype of Su Sung's water clock in Song Dynasty.
            Chinese not only invented technological waterwheels but also developed waterwheels for agriculture. The Dragon-bone wheel, Chinese traditional irrigational waterwheel, was invented during Han Dynasty
            As shown in the above examples, the extraordinary usages of ancient Chinese waterwheel stretched into various fields including science, metallurgy, and agriculture.
            However, none of these ancient records show any pictorial models of those devices mentioned above. Nonetheless, historians face almost identical technologies in the records of Song Dynasty - when China went through the renaissance of its ancient technologies.
            During Tang Dynasty, the water-mill spread to other countries under Chinese influence, including Korea, Japan and Tibet (4). But it seems like only the agriculture function of the waterwheel got transferred to these regions, for none of the records from these regions during that time period mentions any manfacuring function of the waterwheels.

B. Song Dynasty & Early Yuan Dynasty
            *This chapter is mainly based on Joseph Needham's work and the documentary: Ancient Discoveries : Machines of Ancient China

            Derk Bodde, the author of Chinese Thought, Society, and Science, defines Song dynasty as a "renaissance" dynasty, for the scholars and historians emphasized their interest in the revival of intellectual products from the ancient China.
            Although the term "industrial revolution" is usually associated with Europeans, the fact that Chinese during the Song Dynasty were on the verge of industrial revolution should not be neglected. From 960 to 1279 A.D when the pace of Chinese pre-industrialization had reached its peak, Song Dynasty established an industrial foundation that allowed production on industrial scale. Culture flourished with various inventions such as the paper making technology, printing, compass, and gunpowder that were further developed during this period. Such claim is substantiated by the technological evidences listed below.

Figure 6. An imaginary Village with Oil-Drilling Technology, Song Dynasty , Song Dynasty (5)


            The above is an imaginary photo above a town in Song Dynasty in which the oil drilling system was installed. As shown in the photo, pipes from the oil-drilling station connect the entire town, supplying the oil throughout the village. Considering that oil fuels engines that derived the industrial revolution, Chinese already possessed one of the keys to industrial revolution, yet they did not realize how to use it yet. The oil was mainly used to keep warmth by fueling fire.

Figure 7. A Model of Automated Bellows powered by waterwheel, Song Dynasty. (6)


            However, they were adept at using water as their energy source. The photo above is an automated bellow powered by a horizontal waterwheel. While the conventional bellow required a person pumping air with his own hands and feet, this type did not need any human labor. Not only it helped reduce the burden of Chinese workers, it also made it possible for Chinese to deal with more sophisticated metallurgy, for the repeated influx of air into the bellow raised up the temperature inside higher than ever before. One noticeable structure in this bellow is the linear structure that transforms the rotational motion of the waterwheel rotating along with the river located below. The fact that the ancient Chinese already had almost identical device is something to be noted.
            More remarkably, there is additional evidence which indicates that the Song could manufacture metal. The below is a trip hammer connected to a long shaft rotating with a waterwheel.

Figure 8. Trip Hammer, Song Dynasty


            The waterwheel could produce 400kg of force per single rotation. So these could not only crush grain, but also pound metal. This technology is also a revival of ancient Chinese thought as mentioned in the previous chapter. While the ancient people did not provide pictorial models for such devices, later Chinese scholars were generous enough to provide such explanation for their inventions. These mega waterwheels still remain in some regions in China. Chinese during the Song Dynasty could both melt and pound metals in industrial scale - a crucial prerequisite of industrial revolution.

Figure 9. Textile Machinery run by water-power, Yuan Dynasty (7)


            Joseph Needham adds on to the list of advanced water-power technologies.
            "Particularly remarkable was the use, at least as early as +1313, of water-power for textile machinery. The Nung Shu illustrates a spinning-mill in which we see a vertical undershot waterwheel and a large driving wheel with a belt-drive on the same shaft working a multiple-bobbin spinning-machine for hemp and ramie, perhaps also for cotton… This should be enough to give pause to any economic historian, especially as Wang Chen clearly says that such installations were common in his time." (8) The textile machinery is shown on the figure above.
            Gearing technology is another key to industrial revolution, for it allows intricate operation of metal machines. Also, gears play a crucial role in handling the magnitude of power applied to certain machines. They also help machines to operate in larger scales. It is surprising that the Chinese applied such technologies to their waterwheels. Although the gearing technology had been existing since ancient times, nobody was faster than the Chinese in combining waterwheel and gears (Europeans began to attach gears to waterwheels in 13th century, a century after Song Dynasty). Nine Millstones are attached to the waterwheel below, rotating simultaneously to pound grains. In other words, The Chinese knew how to create maximum efficiency with limited power supply.

Figure 10. A Model of Nine Millstones powered by single waterwheel, Sung Dynasty (9)


            Gearing technology was not the only skill that Chinese had mastered. Su Sung, a renowned Chinese genius astronomer and engineer, devised the world's first power-transmitting chain drive in his astronomical water-clock, which he claimed is an imitation the record of Zhang Heng's water clock from ancient China. Below is an excerpt from Joseph Needham's explanation of the water-clock.
            The mechanical clockworks for Su Song's astronomical tower featured a great driving-wheel that was 11 feet in diameter, carrying 36 scoops on its circumference, into each of which water would pour at uniform rate from the 'constant-level tank. The main driving shaft of iron, with its cylindrical necks supported on iron crescent-shaped bearings, ended in a pinion which engages with a gear-wheel at the lower end of the main vertical transmission-shaft… (Su Song's) clockwork, driven by a water-wheel, and fully enclosed within the tower, rotated an observational armillary sphere on the top platform and a celestial globe in the upper story. Its time-announcing function was further fulfilled visually and audibly by the performances of numerous jacks mounted on the eight superimposed wheels of a time-keeping shaft and appearing at windows in the pagoda-like structure at the front of the tower. Within the building, some 40 ft. high, the driving-wheel was provided with a special form of escapement, and the water was pumped back into the tanks periodically by manual means. The time-annunciator must have included conversion gearing, since it gave 'unequal' as well as equal time signals, and the sphere probably had this. Su Sung's treatise on the clock, the Hsin I Hsiang Fa Yao, constitutes a classic of horological engineering (10)

Figure 11. The oldest chain-drive in any civilization, part of Su Sung's astronomical clock (left), Mechanism of Su Sung's astronomical clock (right) (11)

Figure 12. Reconstruction of Su Sung's astronomical clock-tower (12)


            As shown in the above enumeration of technologies, Song Dynasty had almost everything ready for industrial revolution. They had all the materialistic prerequisites: oil drilling technology, metal manufacturing, and gearing. As mentioned in the later section "Brief History of waterwheel in Europe", what they had is very similar to the technologies found in Europe just before it reached industrial revolution. Some of the inventions, such as the gearing technology and the Su Sung water clock, were perhaps more advanced than the contemporary European technologies. Then what caused such huge big difference? The answer will be addressed in section V : Comparative Analysis.

C. Yuan, Ming and Thereafter.
            By the Yuan (1271-1368) and Ming (1368-1644) dynasties, the waterwheel technology had further improved. Nonetheless, there was no more distinct development of Chinese waterwheels after the Yuan and Ming dynasties. What is observed is a shift in the usage of waterwheels from the verge of industrial revolution to merely agricultural state. Although some records of technological waterwheels remain from Qing Dynasty, most of them are simply about the agriculture waterwheels that had been used since ancient times.
            After 16th century, Chinese began to adopt the European style irrigational waterwheel named "diancha" for irrigating water. This is a re-adoption of a technology that was long forgotten by the Chinese. They already had a very similar style waterwheel called the "dragon-bone wheel" in Han Dynasty and Song Dynasty. Unfortunately, the reason why such technologies had to be readopted is not clearly answered. The frequent changes of ruling authority and the foreign invasions might serve as a reason that caused the regression of waterwheel technology in China.

Figure 13. Chinese adoption of European Style waterwheel for agriculture (13)


III. History of Waterwheel in Korea
A. Introduction from China
            In Korean history, the word "waterwheel" first appears in a book from Goryeo Dynasty. According to Goryeosa (the history of Goryeo) (14), in 1362, one liege named Baek Mun Bo of king Gongmin suggested that the adoption of waterwheel technology from the Jiangnan province of China would be helpful for the farmers who often struggle with irrigation during drought periods. He explains to the king that the advantage of Chinese farmers over drought. He said, "the farmers in Jiangnan are not afraid of droughts because they have the waterwheel. Our farmers struggle during droughts because they don't know how to irrigate water from the river just a meter below the farmland. It would be a great help for the farmers if we would adopt the waterwheel from Jiangnan and enlighten our farmers with it so that they can fight the droughts more easily" (15) . The waterwheel which Baek Mun Bo observed should have been the chain-wheel type, called dragon-bone wheel, for these type of waterwheels is still used in modern day Jiangnan. Although it would have been reasonable for the king to take some action upon such request, not much is known about how the king reacted to this proposal afterward. No documents of Goryeo after 1362 show any trace of waterwheel.
            About a century earlier than 1362, there is a record of the King and Queen sightseeing a waterwheel in 1276, but this records lacks any detailed support. (16)
            There is a source that suggests the first record of waterwheel is even earlier. The History of Japan suggests that one monk from Goryeo named Dam Jing first introduced the watermill to Japan in 610 (17). In fact, Joseph Needham insinuates this incident in his book by saying, "During the Thang, the water-mill had radiated to other countries in the Chinese culture-area, to Japan (via Korea) in +610 and +670 and to Tibet about +641." (18)
            However, this claim is less credible because the original primary source uses the term "Yeon-ae" which can basically indicate any type of mill powered by animals, water, wind and etc. But the record does itself explain that the mill was somewhat associated with water.

B. Continuous Attempts to Adopt and Promote the Waterwheel
            More records of the waterwheel are found in the documents from Joseon Dynasty. According to Joseon Wangjo Sillok (Annals of the Joseon Dynasty), King Taejong in December 1406 encouraged his people to build the waterwheel and supported them by constructing few waterwheels per each town as samples and ordering the local government officials to construct additional waterwheels (19). This incident was the first time in Korean history when the government 'officially' encouraged its people to utilize waterwheel. That it was supported by the king is also a significant fact. However, it is not clear whether the waterwheel they tried to adopt was from China or Japan. Because the waterwheel technology had already spread from China to Japan long ago, and because Joseon and Japan had already established a diplomatic trade relationship by sending ambassadors in 1404, Koreans could have adopt either type of waterwheel from these two countries.
            The next record of the waterwheel appears again in the records of King Sejong. Park Seo Sang, a Korean ambassador who visited Japan in 1429 brought back a mimic diagram of a Japanese waterwheel. Park did not officially gain the model from the Japanese government. Rather, he was motivated to remake a similar model after his companions had observed the automated waterwheel of the Japanese farmers. While the Japanese waterwheels were completely automatic, the old waterwheels of Korea needed both human power and the flow of water(Dragon-bone wheel from Jiangnan). Upon Park's vehement request to spread this type of waterwheel among farmers, Sejong actively carried a plan to popularize the usage of waterwheel in Joseon. Koreans distinguished this waterwheel by calling the new Japanese waterwheel 'Wae-sucha' and the old Chinse waterwheel 'Dang-sucha' (20). Sejong ran few test cases to confirm whether these waterwheels were actually effective or not. These tests proved that the waterwheel was greatly effective for irrigation. In 1431, Sejong sent mini-models of this waterwheel to the local rulers and ordered them to build waterwheels according to those models. He also assigned local officials who exclusively dealt with the construction of new waterwheels. The construction of the old type of waterwheel from Taejong's period also continued along with the new type. The fact that Sejong assigned officials designated only for the spread of waterwheel shows his serious attitude toward promoting the waterwheel to a country-wide trend. Sejong even promised to give royal awards to farmers who successfully utilize the new waterwheel technology (21).
            However, Sejong faced two major problems in the process of carrying on this project. First, the rivers which Sejong intended to irrigate the water from were slow-flowing wide rivers. Because the Japanese model was suited for fast-flowing narrow rivers, the slow flow of the Korean rivers was not powerful enough to rotate the wheels automatically. Therefore, a device on which a person could generate additional energy by pedaling was attached to the model, turning the automated waterwheel to not-automated. The other problem Sejong had to deal with was the soil. The Korean soil soaked water so well that even though the irrigation of water from the river up to the farm land was successful, the farm land failed to contain the water long enough for farming. Sejong's waterwheel project ultimately ended after the officials reported him of this inefficiency.
            The efforts to develop the irrigational waterwheels continued throughout Joseon dynasty, but the results were never as effective as that of the other irrigation methods popular in Joseon. In 1488, Choi-Bu, a government official under Seongjong, tested new Chinese waterwheel in Gyeongi Province. In 1502, Yeonsan-gun denied Kim Yik Kyeong's request to build additional waterwheels (22). Yeonsan-gun claimed three reasons for not constructing anymore waterwheels. "First, waterwheels are difficult to control and manage. Second, the waterwheels become futile when severe droughts take place. Third, farmers do not need to irrigate water by waterwheel if it there is enough rain."
            Although these claims partially constitute Joseon's reluctance to develop waterwheels, the major reason was the dominant popularity of the other irrigation methods. In 16th century, Cheon-bang and Je-eon were the two popular methods used for irrigation. Cheon-bang is an irrigation method which utilizes series of small dams, and Je-eon is the irrigation method which uses the water reservoirs. Because these two methods were so popular and well-working, the kings paid little attention to developing any other type of technology like the waterwheel.
            In 1650, Hyojong, a prince who was kidnapped to live in China when the Qing invaded Joseon, expressed his will to promote the Qing style waterwheel when he came back to Joseon to become the king. And in 1783, Hosu Seo suggested King Jeongjo to adopt Yongmi-cha(Archimedean screw), a type of western waterwheel introduced by a western priest by the name of Sabbathino de Ursis (23). This type of waterwheel was generally of better quality than the Chinese waterwheels and was better suited for larger rivers. Jeongjo's interest in the waterwheels continued. He attempted to install few waterwheels in his Hwaseong Fortress, but these attempts failed due to financial issues. This suggests that the construction of the waterwheel was not his first priority in building his fortress. Although many books like 海東農書 (Haedongnongseo) from this period mention about the waterwheels, though many Joseon scholars were fascinated by the enlightened ideas of the West, none of the theoretical designs were actually used to construct real waterwheels. (24)
            After the 17th century, the government somewhat continueed to promote the waterwheel, but none of these trials had a significant impact on modern Joeseon society as did the attempts in previous centuries. What actually takes place instead, is the shift of focus from the waterwheel to the watermill. While the previous attempts focused exclusively on the irrigational function of the waterwheel, Joseon kings from the 17th century shift their gears toward the watermill for pounding grains. The reasons behind this shift will be addressed in an upcoming chapter.

C. Interaction with Japan
            The possibility of early interaction between Goryeo and Japan was suggested in the previous chapter. The interaction of the Joseon ambassadors with Japan during King Sejong's period is already addressed in the previous chapter as well. Therefore, this chapter focuses on the interactions between Joseon and Japan that took place around 15th century.
            The Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592 turned out to be a failure, though it left a devastating impact on Joseon. When the Japanese retreated from Korean Peninsula in 1589, they brought Korean potters with them because they envied the advanced pottery industry of Joseon. Among the potters was Lee Chan Pyeong who founded a new pottery industry in Arita, Japan. Such potters produced tools that they needed for pounding the ingredients for their pottery. Potters in Joseon had traditionally been using Tongbanga. So when the potters were brought to Japan, potters like Lee built similar Tongbangas based on their memory. Those Tongbangas were later used for pounding the grain as well.
            The Japanese word for Tongbanga suggests that it came originally from Joseon. In Kyushu, the Japanese word for Tongbanga basically means 'Korean Mill' n(25). Although most of the Tongbangas in Korea are now all gone, there are still many left in Japan which are currently in-use.

D. Reasons Behind the Shift from the Waterwheel to the Watermill
            As mentioned in the previous chapters, there were a number of attempts to promote the usage of the waterwheel throughout Joseon dynasty. In general, there were several discrepancies between the conditions of Korea and China that determined the success or failure of adopting the waterwheel technology. There were roughly three reasons why such attempts to spread the waterwheel turned out to be futile in the Korean peninsula. "First, the soil of the farmland was different from that of China. Second, the irrigational condition of the water sources was different. Third, the agricultural condition and economic problem that existed throughout Joseon Dynasty" (26).
            The locations where the Chinese utilized the irrigational waterwheel were mainly centered on regions with vast plain and wide rivers like Jiangnan, through which the Yangtze River passes by. The soil in such regions mainly consisted of clay which did not absorb much water. The rivers always had a huge amount of water flowing fast throughout the year. The Chinese did not use the waterwheels in mountainous regions. However, most of rivers in Korea are slow-flowing and almost seem to be stationary in some regions. During droughts, the rivers completely dried up, making it impossible for the farmers to use their waterwheels. During summer, there were many cases when it rained so much that the farmers did not need the waterwheels at all to irrigate any additional water to their farms. These reasons are supported by the cases of Park Seo Sang's and Kim Yik Kyeong's case that were mentioned in the previous chapter.
            The primary reason that Koreans did not utilize the waterwheel for irrigational purpose was mainly the geographical condition of the Korean Peninsula. While the rivers over-flew during summer, they were too shallow in the other seasons to use waterwheels; the rivers were inconsistent. The dynamic change of climate throughout the year and the vulnerability of the rivers made the other irrigation methods in Korea more effective than the waterwheel. Because many rivers flowing in mountainous regions are shallow and inconsistent, they were not suitable to run the waterwheels. Consistency was the key in using the waterwheel which the Koreans did not have. But this still does not answer the question why they did not apply this waterwheel technology to any other machines like the engineers of Song Dynasty did.
            Then why did such attempts persist throughout the 500 years of Joseon Dynasty? It would be normal to give up on a policy if it continuously fails. In the late Joseon Dynasty, the farmers adopted a new type of farming method called Yi-Ang bup which required much more water to be irrigated than the traditional way of farming. The need to irrigate more amount of water eventually led to attempts to develop and utilize the waterwheel to some extent.
            Moreover, the introduction of the new farming method led the waterwheel to change its form to the watermill, so called Mullebanga. As the production of food increased due to the new farming method in 17th century, there were more grains to be grinded. Although the existing types of mills had no problem grinding before 17th century, they weren't enough once the food production had increased. The number of mills powered by oxen decreased because the farmers needed the oxen to work on the farm land instead, and the number of oxen was very limited. Because Mullebanga was 17 times more effective than the traditional mills, it enabled the farmers to focus more on 'farming' than grinding their product. In general, Mullebanga greatly contributed to the increase of agricultural production of Joseon since the 17th century. Although waterwheel was thrown off by other irrigational methods in Korea, the other irrigational infrastructure such as dams and water reservoirs were very helpful for providing the adequate water source for the watermills.

E. Remnants of Korean Waterwheels
            As engines operated by fuel and electricity were introduced to the farmers in 20th century, the traditional watermills gradually lost their place in Korean agriculture.
            The traditional watermill was modernized by 1930. Although the wheel that generates the power maintained the same style even in the modern time, the structure inside the watermills completely changed with modernization. Although the traditional watermills were connected to wooden levers that repeatedly went up and down, the modern watermills were linked to belts that connected various machines together.
            Currently, only two watermills are registered as the official Korean historical heritage. This chapter explores these two watermills as the representative of modern Korean waterwheels.

1) Sil-Li Watermill/Tongbanga
            One of the two Korean watermills addressed in this paper is located at Sil-li, Dogye-eup, exact GPS location of being 37 11'020 1290874. Sil-li watermill was designated as a national historical heritage in 1975. The date when it was built is unknown, but it is a typical 18th century Korean watermill. According to the locals, until 2003, the mill was still in use by the person who built it, so it would be reasonable to assume that it was built around early 1900s.
            A trip to this watermill suggested how Koreans disregard the true value of their traditional watermills. The below is an observation from a trip to Sil-li waterwheel in May 26th, 2013 and July 7th, 2013.
            Although the roads to historical sites are usually well-guided, it wasn't the case for this mill. Because it was hidden behind the guard rail of the road, it was necessary to pass by the same place thrice before discovering that the watermill was actually there. The guiding plates were inaccurate, and the mill seemed to be very minor compared to the other parts of the historical sight.

Figure 14. Sil-li Waterwheel (27)


            The above photo is the Sil-li waterwheel. The wheel part has recently been renovated, but there was no water flowing to actually rotate it, for the waterway was blocked by large stones. If there were any water, the water would have flowed in the upright direction and the wheel would have rotated forward. However, the axis which connects the wheel and the mill wasn't properly set. Also, the mill didn't have a mill stone. Instead, it had a T-Shaped mortar that grinded the grain. The mortal is located in a deep hole that would contain grains.


Figure 15. Sil-Li Tongbanga


            Sil-li Tongbanga is located about few kilometers from the Sil-li watermill, GPS location being 3712035 12908000 The condition of Sil-li Tongbanga wasn't perfect. Many parts including the axis weren't at their original positions. In order for this mill to function properly again, it would require a renovation process as suggested in An Architectural Feature Study on the Restoration of Tonbanga-House at Samcheok (Daei-li) (28) which wrote about the renovation of another Tongbanga at Samcheok.
            Another totally unexpected Tongbanga not far away from Sil-li, GPS location being 3719432 12912786. One remarkable thing about this Tongbanga is that it was located nowhere near water. It seemed like that it was removed from somewhere else. This unknown Tongbanga suggests that Samchoek is a region that is very closely associated with watermills.

2) Baekjeonli Watermill & General Trends


Figure 16. Baekjeonli Watermill (29)


            One unique characteristic of Baekjeon-li watermill is that the power generated by the watermill does not directly pound the grains. But, it powers an engine which is connected to several machines that are used for pounding grains. Similar types of waterwheels connected with belts were the crucial source of energy during the industrial revolution(before the Second industrial revolution).This watermill is has not been used since it was designated as one of the historical heritages.
            Below is a table that shows the distribution of remaining watermills in Korea(includes those that aren't designated as historical heritages). In 2006, it was reported by the Korean Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries that there are currently 114 still functioning watermills: 56 in Kyeong-nam, 13 in Jeon-buk, 11 in Kyeong-buk, 11 in Jeon-nam, 7 in Chung-buk, 6 in Chung-nam, and 6 in Gangwon. And it was reported that 38 watermills are no longer in use. Most of these non-functioning watermills are either destroyed or preserved just for the beauty. The oldest watermill was built in 1850. Watermills built before the year 1950 were mostly built out of wood, but after they were built with metals and more tenable materials. The table below illustrates that more watermills are currently being used in Korea than expected. But still, only some Koreans pay attention to these old waterwheels today.

Table 1. Watermills in Korea (2006) (30)
Province Year built Functioning Not Functioning
Kangwondo 1963, 1975 6 4
Chungcheongnamdo 1950, 1957, 1967-1973 7 0
Chungcheongbukdo 1900-1956, 1970 9 4
Cheollanamdo 1881-1995 11 7
Cheollabukdo 1850-1960 13 9
Gyeongsangbukdo 1921-1956 11 8
Gyeongsangnamdo 1880-1978 56 4


IV. Brief History of Waterwheel in Europe


Figures 17. Ancient European Water Turbine (31)


            The origin of modern industry dates back to the late 18th and early 19th century when the traditional human-powered labors were replaced by the revolutionary steam engines. But, in even earlier times, people seek to help themselves by utilizing the water power. It was in 8 and 9th century when the European first actively began to utilize water power.
            One of the prevalent ways by which the Europeans utilized was the installation of the waterwheels. The mechanics of the early models of waterwheels were relatively simple compared to the later waterwheels that were associated with gearing technology. The early waterwheel rotated horizontally along with the flow of the river, and it was connected directly to a millstone through a vertical shaft that transferred the power generated by the rotation of the wheel. However, this early model was only 5-15% efficient and generated about one horse power of force on average.
            There are two other types of major European waterwheel : the overshot and the undershot. The undershot and overshot waterwheel were invented by Hellenistic engineers between the 3rd and 2nd century BC.
            The undershot waterwheel generated energy through the reaction force produced by the water flowing under. Although such type of waterwheel could operate in any slow-flowing rivers, it worked best in closed water ways. A typical waterwheel operated at an average of 20-30% energy efficiency (32), producing energy about five times that of the ancient water turbines.
            The overshot waterwheel generated energy through the gravitational force that pulls down the buckets attached to the wheel as they are filled with the influx of water from water flowing from above. One bucket after the other are filled and then emptied repeatedly, making the wheel rotate continuously. This type of waterwheel required larger dams and waterways located above the wheel since it could not deal with a large amount of flowing water compared to the undershot waterwheel. But with only small amount of water and with little height difference of 3-12 meters, it could be operated at 50-70% energy efficiency, producing about 2-40 horse power on average. However, these numbers are not accurate figures because no primary source accurately documents the power output of waterwheels before 1700.
            One of the key factors that contributed to the change in technological paradigm in European history was the Rule of Saint Benedict which laid its foundation on the laws established in early 6th century (33). There were two special characteristics with these set of rules. First, the monks, living communally under the authority of an abbot, were encouraged to devote a strict amount of time to laboring, reading, studying, and meditating. Second, monks had to distance themselves from the secular society by maintaining a self-sustainable living environment - a factor that seems more significant historically, for it stimulated their need to develop water-powered technology. They could save more time for praying and studying by spending less time on manual labors that the watermills had substituted for them instead.
            The center of medieval water-power culture was mainly located near the rivers that flowed into the Bay of Biscay, the English Channel, and the North Sea. Because there were hundreds of small or medium size tributaries, it was convenient for people there to engage in water-power development.
            The Cistercian Order was one of the most active groups that engaged in promoting water power. By 1300, there were more than 500 Cistercian monetary in Europe; most of them owned at least one watermill, and some of them even had more than five or more. Another factor that contributed the spread of water power in medieval Europe was the feudal lords who looked for more profit from the serfs and farmers who worked on their lands.
            Therefore, the growth of the European water power technology is attributed to its social, economic, and geographical factors. Since the 9th century, waterwheels were operating throughout Europe. In late 11th century, England under the control of Norman had 5,264 watermills, and in late 13th century, France had 95,000 operating watermills.
            The emphasis of waterwheel technology eventually shifted to transforming the rotational energy into various other forms, so that people can utilize water power more creatively - they saw the potential of the waterwheel in fields other than agriculture and irrigation. The engineers from 10 to 15th century focused on transforming the rotational motion into a set of linear operation. They devised two mechanical structure that served their goal : the Cam mechanism and Crank Shaft. Cam mechanism is a rotating or sliding piece in a mechanical linkage used especially in transforming rotary motion into linear motion or vice-versa. A crank is an arm attached at right angles to a rotating shaft by which reciprocating motion is imparted to or received from the shaft. It is used to convert circular motion into reciprocating motion, or vice-versa (34).


Figure 18. Cam Mechanism (left), Crank Shaft (right) (35)


            Terry S. Reynolds claims that the Europeans learned paper making from Chinese in early 12th century (36). But this assertion is not necessarily true because Europeans learned paper making from Arabs who had learned it from the Chinese. The process involved pounding of the rags underwater. In late 13th century, Europeans used trip hammers connected to waterwheels for that purpose. Trip hammers used for paper making is one of the most significant applications of the cam mechanism. By 14th century, significant number of Europeans were utilizing these hammers for various purposes.


Figure 19. Furnace bellows worked by a vertical water-wheel (37)


            However, Cam mechanism had a more significant impact on European metal industry. In medieval Europe, the ironmasters used to melt stones in bellows that were filled with air pumped by human power. The cam mechanism was used for two functions : first in the trip hammers that were used to pound the stones to be manufactures, and then to constantly blow air into the bellows.
            Terry S. Reynolds, the author of Medieval Roots of the Industrial Revolution, claims that the Chinese and Arabs did not have either the trip hammer or bellows associated with the waterwheels. This is definitely not true, for the Chinese already had almost identical mechanisms in Song Dynasty(and even back in ancient Han Dynasty) as mentioned in the previous section.


Figure 30. An Upshot waterwheel connected to a mining pump by crank shaft (38)


            Crank shaft, the other mechanism that transforms rotational motion to linear motion, was already present in 2nd century China. But it first appeared in Europe in 9th century and was attached to waterwheels in 10th century. Waterwheels with crank shaft were mainly used for water pumps and silk mills.
            From 1550 to 1750, Europeans were utilizing water power in almost every manufacturing system that dealt with weapon making, metals, chemicals, silk, cloth and so on, a phenomenon, an eminent precursor of industrial revolution.
            As the industrial revolution took place in Europe from about 1760, waterwheels and watermills changed their forms according to the new industrial paradigm. By 1880s, most waterwheels were connected to rollers belts that transferred the energy to engines and turbines, which is the style of waterwheel seen in recent Korean waterwheels like the Baekjeon-li waterwheel. The below is an example of silk manufacturing factory that used a single waterwheel as the source of energy. But the machines ran by the factory are all industrialized.

Figure 21. Silk Manufacturing factory powered by waterwheel connected by belts (39)

V. Comparative Analysis
            As the last section of this paper, this chapter aims to answer the four primary questions from a comparative perspective.

1) Why did Song Dynasty not reach industrial revolution even if it was on the verge of industrial revolution?
            Derk Bodde, the author of Chinese Thought, Society, and Science, defines Song Dynasty as a "renaissance" dynasty in which political weakness coupled with great economic development, urbanization, spread of printing, rise of Neo-Confucianism, decline of Buddhism (49). This definition of Song Dynasty perhaps implies the key reason that Song could not reach the industrial revolution while the Europeans could. The social structure and political instability were the two main factors that circumvented Song from crossing the threshold to industrial revolution.
            In order to investigate the reason of failure for Song Dynasty, it is necessary to take a close look at how the Europeans became successful. European history is defined by the severe competitions among the divided states that were ruled by separate authorities and ruling groups. Because there was no single central authority that governed everything, technological development could be separated from the political changes that continuously affected Europe. This fact does not mean that scientific advancement was of mere importance; advanced technologies, especially those associated with weaponry, was a determining factor in fight of numerous European states against their competitors. Private institutions that were not associated with political authorities patronized various scientific researches, providing an environment in which engineers could freely realize their creative ideas that gradually built up the "industrial revolution". Such competitive ambience was the energy that fueled the engine of European technological advancement. The point that the change occurred in Europe was from the bottom rather than top should be noted, for that is the major difference between China and Europe.
            The first possible explanation for Chinese failure is the tendency of Chinese families to hide their secrets. While Europeans were relatively more generous about sharing their intellectual knowledge with their neighbors, Chinese families tended to keep their technological skills top confidential, for such knowledge enabled the family to make a living out of it.
            The second possible explanation derives from the political structure of China. Chinese Dynasties had traditionally substantiated their power with the Mandate of Heaven because it was hard to control such gigantic group with weak rationale. For the same reason, they prevented the public from forming private associations or institutions, which possibly could undermine the central authorities. An overly strong central authority lead to no change from the bottom, and prevented creative ideas from being funded free of government interference. Therefore, Chinese engineers were susceptible to the lack of continuous patronization, for the arbitrary kings constantly changed their minds.
            As Mongols took over China, there were nobody left to support such huge projects that required country-wide patronages. Although the technological development continued to some extent during Yuan and Ming dynasty, China failed to persist through the threshold of the industrial revolution. And by 16th century, China's waterwheel technology had experienced a devastating regression - they were readopting their ancient waterwheels from the Europeans.

2) Why did the advanced waterwheel technology of China not spread to Goryeo and Joseon, despite their intimate cultural and military affiliation?
            The first official record of waterwheel in Korean history is found in Goryeosa(1362) as mentioned previously. It is important to notice that Yuan Dynasty was in power from 1271 to 1368. Therefore, the waterwheel that Baek Mun Bo was trying to bring, although was an invention from Song Dynasty, was already under the control of Mongols. This simple fact allows three speculations to be made.
            First, the waterwheel technology was already in decline because the royal patronage from the Song dynasty could not continue after the invasion of the Mongols. Although, the Mongols would have known about the advanced waterwheel technologies, they would not have paid much attention to them because their primary focus was expansion, not sophisticated technologies that were perpendicular to weaponry. It seems like that the Mongols accidently disregarded the possibility of metal manufacturing through those remnants of watermills (Trip Hammer & Automated Furnace). Therefore, Korean scholars like Baek Mun Bo would not have had the chance to take a look at the once glorious waterwheel culture of Song Dynasty.
            Second, Joseon Dynasty, which was built upon Neo-Confucian ideals, would have been reluctant to learn anything from Yuan Dynasty which they considered as barbarians. This might be the reason why King Gongmin did not respond to Baek Mun Bo's urgent request to adopt Chinese waterwheels, for it would be a shame to learn a technology(considered low-level deed) from barbarians.
            Lastly, Yuan Dynasty could have known the true potential of the waterwheel technology they had. If that's the case, they would have kept it as top secret, for Goryeo and Joseon were possible threat to their stability.
            Above speculations are reasonable but they should not be regarded as the absolute right answers for the question.

3) What prevented Koreans from developing advanced waterwheels and why were the usages of waterwheel so limited in Korea?

            There were several factors that hindered Koreans from developing advanced waterwheel technologies. But among those reasons, lack of interest?present not only among the lower class farmers but also among the royal patrons such as the kings?played the most crucial role. In other words, the prevalent reluctance among Koreans to adopt and invent new technologies prevented them from taking a step further with their merely agricultural waterwheels.
            Geographical condition is one of the superficial reasons. Yeon San-gun, one of the kings who failed to promote waterwheel during Joseon Dynasty claimed that waterwheels are useless because they are difficult to control and manage, because the waterwheels become futile when severe droughts take place, and because farmers do not need to irrigate water by waterwheel if it there is enough rain. His claims are in fact reasonable to some extent, for Korean rivers from which they tried to irrigate water from were usually slow-flowing inconsistent rivers. An inundating river might be completely dry during Spring or Fall, an arbitrary natural condition that made it very difficult to run waterwheels during certain times of year. Because building waterwheels required quite some resources, money, and time, it would have been burdensome to build such luxurious device just to use for short periods of time. However, such claims are a representation of the king's lack of interest in persisting to develop the waterwheels. Koreans could have altered the ways rivers flew just by digging some tributaries from the rivers, if they had been very serious about utilizing waterwheel for agriculture.
            Another incident that shows the reluctance of Korean kings to treat the building of waterwheels seriously. Although Jeongjo, the enlightened king and pioneer of European technologies showed interest in building waterwheel in his Hwaseong fortress, the plan was eventually canceled due to financial issues. Waterwheel was definitely not his first-priority interest.
            Now, it's not hard to imagine the reason why Koreans couldn't think of using the waterwheel for industrial power source; they were struggling even with the very basic function of the waterwheel and could not think beyond the superficial function of it. Also, the inconsistency and relentless changes in the policies of different kings made each waterwheel project discrete. The interest of several kings did not continue long enough to establish advanced waterwheel technology in Korea.
            There is a similarity between China and Korea in that waterwheel and other technologies were promoted by the authority at the top, and not by private institutions at the bottom. The Neo-Confucian principles encouraged people to look down at people who engage in technological deeds, thereby discouraging the entire population from developing creative thoughts about science and technology. Koreans perhaps showed little interest in technology, not because they innately disliked them but because they were forced to do so. As shown in the comparison between Chinese and European history, an advancement in technology is only achieved though the competition among ambitious private engineers. Therefore, the very same reason why the Chinese could not reach industrial revolution applies to Korea as well.


Notes
(1)      Documentary : Ancient Discoveries Machines of Ancient China III, History Channel
(2)      Kim Jae-Ho, The relationship between Waterwheel, the foreign culture, and the watermill, the folk culture, p.181. He criticizes Lee Chun-nyeng and Chae Young-am for misusing the term waterwheel in their work The Waterwheel of Korea
(3)      Photo from http://www.jeonnam.go.kr/upload/board//jhistory2/007.gif
(4)      Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China vol.4 p.401
(5)      Documentary: Ancient Discoveries : Machines of Ancient China
(6)      Documentary: Ancient Discoveries : Machines of Ancient China
(7)      Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China vol.4, p.405
(8)      Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China vol.4, pp.404
(9)      Documentary: Ancient Discoveries : Machines of Ancient China
(10)      Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China vol.4, p.390
(11)      Joseph Needham, Science in Traditional China : A Comparative Perspective, p.46
(12)      Ibid.
(13)      Lee Chun-nyeng, Chae Young-am, The Waterwheel of Korea, p.33
(14)      History of Goryeo, Volume 79. Chapter 33
(15)      Lee Chun-nyeng, Chae Young-am, The Waterwheel of Korea, p.16
(16)      Park Sung-rae, The Korean Technologies ought to be Preserved, p.51
(17)      Ibid.
(18)      Joseph Needham, Science and civilization in China vol.4, p.404
(19)      Lee Chun-nyeng, Chae Young-am, The Waterwheel of Korea, p.17
(20)      Park Sung-rae, The Korean Technologies ought to be Preserved, p.52
(21)      Ibid.
(22)      Kim Jae-Ho, The Relationship between Waterwheel, the Foreign culture, and the Watermill, the Folk culture, p.172
(23)      Ibid. p.174
(24)      Ibid. p.175
(25)      Lee Chun-nyeng, Chae Young-am, The Waterwheel of Korea, p.10
(26)      Kim Jae-Ho, The relationship between Waterwheel, the foreign culture, and the watermill, the folk culture, p.170
(27)      Photos taken by Alexander Ganse, May 26th, 2013. Used with permission
(28)      Choi, Jang-Soon, Kim, Jin-Won, An Architectural Feature Study on the Restoration of Tongbanga-House at Samcheok
(29)      Photos taken by Alexander Ganse, July 6th, 2013. Used with permission
(30)      Lee Chun-nyeng, Chae Young-am, The Waterwheel of Korea
(31)      Documentary : Discovery Channel, More Industrial Revelations Europe : 02 Bread, Beer, and Salt
(32)      Efficiency : the ratio of energy output to input during energy conversions
(33)      Terry S. Reynolds, Medieval Roots of the Industrial Revolution, p.110
(34)      Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cam, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crank_(mehcanism)
(35)      Joseph Needham, Science in Traditional China : A Comparative Perspective, p.36
(36)      Medieval Roots of the Industrial Revolution, Terry S. Reynolds, And the earliest place in Europe where paper was made is Xativa (Jativa), Spain (in the 12th century, Muslim Spain) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X%C3%A0tiva
(37)      Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, vol.4, p.381
(38)      Lee Chun-nyeng, Chae Young-am, The Waterwheel of Korea, p.32
(39)      Documentary: Ancient Discoveries : Machines of Ancient China




Bibliography
History of the Korean Waterwheel

History of the Chinese Waterwheel
1) Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, Volume 4: Physics and Physical Technology, Part 2, Mechanical Engineering, 1965
2) Documentary : Machines of East : Machines of China, Discovery Channel, Ancient Discovery, 2003
3) Documentary : Ancient.Discoveries.Machines of Ancient China.III, History Channel, 2003
4) Movie : 55 Days at Peking, Nicholas Ray, Samuel Bronston Productions, 1963
5) Derk Bodde, Chinese Thought, Society, and Science, Univerisity of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1993
6) Vaclav Smil, Energy in World History, 2004
7) Joseph Needham, Science in Traditional China : A Comparative Perspective, Harvard University Press, 1981
8) Wikipedia : Su song, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Su_Song

History of the European Waterwheel
1) Jean Gimpel, The Medieval Machine : The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages
2) Documentary : Discovery Channel, More Industrial Revelations Europe : 02 Bread, Beer, and Salt, 2010
3) Documentary : Discovery Channel, More Industrial Revelations Europe : 09 Cutting If Fine, 2010
4) Roger D. Hansen, Water Wheels, http://waterhistory.org/histories/waterwheels/waterwheels.pdf
5) Medieval Roots of the Industrial Revolution, Terry S. Reynolds, Scientific American, vol. 251, No. 1, July, 1984, p.108-116
6) Wikipedia : Noria, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noria



First Draft . . Go to Teacher's Comment

History of Waterwheel in Korea, China and Europe : A Comparative Perspective

Table of Contents
I. Introduction
A. Background
B. Focus & Scope of Study
C. Organization
D. Terminology
II. History of Waterwheel in China
A. Ancient Origins
B. Song Dynasty
C. Yuan, Ming and Thereafter
III. History of Waterwheel in Korea
A. Introduction from China
B. Continuous Attempts to Spread the Waterwheel
C. Interaction with Japan
D. Shift from the Waterwheel to the Watermill
E. Modern Korean Waterwheels
IV. Brief History of Waterwheel in Europe
V. Comparative Analysis

I. Introduction
A. Background
Korean Peninsula is a mountainous region where a significant portion of the landscape is shaped by fast-flowing rivers. Given this basic geographical fact about Korea, it would be reasonable to assume that the Koreans would have actively utilized the water as an energy source. In the past when the steam engines and electricity did not exist, one of the most popular methods of generating energy was through the usage of the waterwheel. Therefore, it would be expected that Koreans would have built many waterwheels to take advantage of the numerous rivers that flowing at perfect rates to rotate them. Surprisingly, one can completely undermine this assumption by simply traveling around Korean countryside.
Figure 1

Figure 1 on the left side represents the typical type of waterwheel found in current day Korea. Although this waterwheel looks fine at a glance, it has one major problem. The water has to move uphill in order to rotate the wheel, a phenomenon which goes against the natural law of gravitation. As shown in this example, many waterwheels in Korea nowadays are merely decorative, technically not functional. Moreover, only few waterwheels from the past still stand as historical remnants. Only two waterwheels are currently registered as the official Korean historical heritages. This small number does suggest a significant trend. It implies that the Koreans had little interest in preserving traditional waterwheels that presumably have been considered not that important. This implication ultimately leads to a claim that the waterwheels did not play a major role in Korean history. In contrast, "China during Song Dynasty was on the verge of industrial revolution when its waterwheel technology had reached its zenith" (1). The major force that drove the industrial revolution in Europe before the invention of steam engine was the waterwheels tied to machines through belts. In this historical context, there exists an obvious discrepancy between how the Koreans treated the waterwheel technology and how the Chinese and Europeans treated it.

B. Focus & Scope of Study
The purpose of this research is to comparatively analyze the history of waterwheel in mainly three regions: Korea, China and Europe in general. Although the history of the waterwheel dates back to ancient Rome, or even further back, this paper puts significant emphasis on the periods from 960 when Song Dynasty and Koryo Dynasty flourished in China and Korea respectively. Please understand that there may exist gaps between each periods addressed in this paper. Some of the in-between history of waterwheel in China is purposely omitted to maintain a focus. Because this research focuses mainly on the interaction between China and Korea, the history of waterwheel in Europe is only briefly mentioned to establish a balanced comparison. The history of waterwheel in Japan is also briefly mentioned because there was a major exchange of waterwheel technology between Korean and Japan during the Japanese invasion of Korea in the 16th century. However, Japan is not one of the main regions addressed in this paper because the influence was ephemeral and not continuous throughout history. Through analytic comparison of these three regions, this research ultimately aims to answer three questions listed below.
1) Why did Song Dynasty not reach industrial revolution even if it was on the verge of industrial revolution?
2) Why did the advanced waterwheel technology of China not spread to Koryo and Joseon, despite their intimate cultural and military affiliation with China?
3) What prevented Koreans from developing advanced waterwheels and why were the usages of waterwheel so limited in Korea?

C. Organization
The paper is first categorized by the three main regions (China, Korea, Europe). In each chapter, the history of the waterwheel is narrated chronologically, covering a general history but emphasizing certain periods. Most importantly, in chapter V, the different histories of each region will be comparatively analyzed to answer the questions mentioned above.

D. Terminology
Some of the terms used in this paper might be very confusing due to their overlapping definitions within different cultures. Also, some of them are used distinctively in each region. Below is the list of key terms in this paper, provided to eliminate any confusion.

1) Waterwheel(수차-Korean 水車-Chinese) :
(Europe) A wheel that steadily rotates by the flow of water. This term includes any type of wheel that uses waterpower regardless of its purpose (Korea) The definition is similar to that in Europe, but it technically includes only the wheels that are used for irrigational purpose. However, this term is often vaguely used by Korean scholars to mean any machine that contains a rotating wheel associated with water power (2). The Europeans called this type of irrigational waterwheel a noria - a machine for lifting water into a small aqueduct, either for the purpose of irrigation or, in at least one known instance, to feed seawater into a saltern.
Figure 2. A noria in Spain (2a)

2) Watermill(물레방아-Korean, 水車-Chinese)
Waterwheel that is specifically attached to either millstones or hammers for the pounding of grains, or any other application.
Figures 3,4. Sil-li Watermill, photos taken on May 26th, 2013

3) Tongbanga(통방아/물방아-Korean, ?臼-Chinese/Japanese)
A Korean traditional watermill that does not use a waterwheel but instead uses a wooden lever that is pulled down by a water container. The container is constantly filled with water until the water inside is eventually released due to the gravity and pulls the lever down. The lever goes back up slowly as the water inside the container empties. The repeated cycle of the lever moving up and down pounds the grain placed in a hole as shown in the above photo.
Figures 5,6. Sil-li Tongbanga, photos taken on May 26th, 2013

4) Muzayu (무자위 - Korean, 筒? - Chinese)
Traditional Korean terminology for the waterwheel used for irrigation, especially in the salt ponds. Very similar to "Noria" (figure 1) and "Dragon-bone wheel" (figure 8).
Figure 7. Muzayu (3)

5) Dragon bone wheel (chain wheel) 용골차 龍骨車
Traditional Chinese irrigational waterwheel invented during Han Dynasty
Figure 8. Dragon-bone wheel


II. History of Waterwheel in China

A. Ancient Origins
Although this paper mainly deals with the advanced water-power technologies in Song Dynasty, it is necessary to trace their origins from the ancient time, for it is unreasonable to expect a set of advanced technologies to be spontaneously developed in only few hundred years of time.
Xin Lun written by Huan Tan, the first text that mentions the existence of waterwheels in China, implies that the waterwheel was already in widespread use in China by 1st century. It also mentions a mythological figure Fu Xi who lived in about 20 AD. He developed a tool that very much resembled the pestle and mortar - very essential parts that probably evolved into the trip hammer (mentioned in the history of waterwheel in Song Dynasty). Although the mention of such devices is merely mythological, it is inappropriate to disregard the possibility that such tools actually existed in ancient China.
According to Xin Lun, Du Shi, the engineer and Prefect of Nanyang, in 31 AD, used waterwheel to develop a machine that powers an automated furnace to create cast iron. Joseph Needham's supports this by saying, "Those who smelted and cast already had the push-bellows to blow up their charcoal fires, and now they were instructed to use the rushing of the water to operate it ... Thus the people got great benefit for little labor. They found the 'water-powered bellows' convenient and adopted it widely" (4a). Surprisingly, the same machine also appears in the late records of the water-power technologies in Song Dynasty. Records also indicate that Zhang Heng (78-139) developed a water-clock that became the prototype of Su Sung's water clock in Song Dynasty.
Chinese not only invented technological waterwheels but also developed waterwheels for agriculture. The Dragon-bone wheel, Chinese traditional irrigational waterwheel, was invented during Han Dynasty
As shown in the above examples, the extraordinary usages of ancient Chinese waterwheel stretched into various fields including science, metallurgy, and agriculture.
However, none of these ancient records show any pictorial models of those devices mentioned above. Nonetheless, historians face almost identical technologies in the records of Song Dynasty - when China went through the renaissance of its ancient technologies.
During Tang Dynasty, the water-mill spread to other countries under Chinese influence, including Korea, Japan and Tibet (4). But it seems like only the agriculture function of the waterwheel got transferred to these regions, for none of the records from these regions during that time period mentions any manfacuring function of the waterwheels.

B. Song Dynasty & Early Yuan Dynasty (4b)
Derk Bodde, the author of Chinese Thought, Society, and Science, defines Song dynasty as a "renaissance" dynasty (4c), for the scholars and historians emphasized their interest in the revival of intellectual products from the ancient China.
Although the term "industrial revolution" is usually associated with Europeans, the fact that Chinese during the Song Dynasty were on the verge of industrial revolution should not be neglected. From 960 to 1279 A.D when the pace of Chinese pre-industrialization had reached its peak, Song Dynasty established an industrial foundation that allowed production on industrial scale. Culture flourished with various inventions such as the paper making technology, printing, compass, and gunpowder that were further developed during this period. Such claim is substantiated by the technological evidences listed below.
Figure 9. Oil-Drilling Technology, Song Dynasty (4c)

The above is an imaginary photo above a town in Song Dynasty in which the oil drilling system was installed. As shown in the photo, pipes from the oil-drilling station connect the entire town, supplying the oil throughout the village. Considering that oil fuels engines that derived the industrial revolution, Chinese already possessed one of the keys to industrial revolution, yet they did not realize how to use it yet. The oil was mainly used to keep warmth by fueling fire.
Figure 10. Automated Bellows powered by waterwheel, Song Dynasty. (4d)

However, they were adept at using water as their energy source. The photo above is an automated bellow powered by a horizontal waterwheel. While the conventional bellow required a person pumping air with his own hands and feet, this type did not need any human labor. Not only it helped reduce the burden of Chinese workers, it also made it possible for Chinese to deal with more sophisticated metallurgy, for the repeated influx of air into the bellow raised up the temperature inside higher than ever before. One noticeable structure in this bellow is the linear structure that transforms the rotational motion of the waterwheel rotating along with the river located below. The fact that the ancient Chinese already had almost identical device is something to be noted.
More remarkably, there is additional evidence which indicates that the Song could manufacture metal. The below is a trip hammer connected to a long shaft rotating with a waterwheel.
Figure 11. Trip Hammer, Song Dynasty (4d)

The waterwheel could produce 400kg of force per single rotation. So these could not only crush grain, but also pound metal. This technology is also a revival of ancient Chinese thought as mentioned in the previous chapter. While the ancient people did not provide pictorial models for such devices, later Chinese scholars were generous enough to provide such explanation for their inventions. These mega waterwheels still remain in some regions in China. Chinese during the Song Dynasty could both melt and pound metals in industrial scale - a crucial prerequisite of industrial revolution.
Figure 12. Textile Machinery ran by water-power, Yuan Dynasty (5)

Joseph Needham adds on to the list of advanced water-power technologies. "Particularly remarkable was the use, at least as early as +1313, of water-power for textile machinery. The Nung Shu illustrates a spinning-mill in which we see a vertical undershot waterwheel and a large driving wheel with a belt-drive on the same shaft working a multiple-bobbin spinning-machine for hemp and ramie, perhaps also for cotton... This should be enough to give pause to any economic historian, especially as Wang Chen clearly says that such installations were common in his time." (6) The textile machinery is shown on the figure above.
Gearing technology is another key to industrial revolution, for it allows intricate operation of metal machines. Also, gears play a crucial role in handling the magnitude of power applied to certain machines. They also help machines to operate in larger scales. It is surprising that the Chinese applied such technologies to their waterwheels. Although the gearing technology had been existing since ancient times, nobody was faster than the Chinese in combining waterwheel and gears (Europeans began to attach gears to waterwheels in 13th century, a century after Song Dynasty). Nine Millstones are attached to the waterwheel below, rotating simultaneously to pound grains. In other words, The Chinese knew how to create maximum efficiency with limited power supply.
Figure 13. Nine Millstones powered by single waterwheel (6a)

Gearing technology was not the only skill that Chinese had mastered. Su Sung, a renowned Chinese genius astronomer and engineer, devised the world's first power-transmitting chain drive in his astronomical water-clock, which he claimed is an imitation the record of Zhang Heng's water clock from ancient China. Below is an excerpt from Joseph Needham's explanation of the water-clock.
"The mechanical clockworks for Su Song's astronomical tower featured a great driving-wheel that was 11 feet in diameter, carrying 36 scoops on its circumference, into each of which water would pour at uniform rate from the 'constant-level tank' (Needham, Fig. 653). The main driving shaft of iron, with its cylindrical necks supported on iron crescent-shaped bearings, ended in a pinion which engages with a gear-wheel at the lower end of the main vertical transmission-shaft ...
(Su Song's) clockwork, driven by a water-wheel, and fully enclosed within the tower, rotated an observational armillary sphere on the top platform and a celestial globe in the upper story. Its time-announcing function was further fulfilled visually and audibly by the performances of numerous jacks mounted on the eight superimposed wheels of a time-keeping shaft and appearing at windows in the pagoda-like structure at the front of the tower. Within the building, some 40 ft. high, the driving-wheel was provided with a special form of escapement, and the water was pumped back into the tanks periodically by manual means. The time-annunciator must have included conversion gearing, since it gave 'unequal' as well as equal time signals, and the sphere probably had this. Su Sung's treatise on the clock, the Hsin I Hsiang Fa Yao, constitutes a classic of horological engineering"
(7)
Figures 14,15. The oldest chain-drive in any civilization, part of Su Sung's astronomical clock (left), Mechanism of Su Sung's astronomical clock (right) (7a)

Figure 16. Reconstruction of Su Sung's astronomical clock-tower (7b)

As shown in the above enumeration of technologies, Song Dynasty had almost everything ready for industrial revolution. They had all the materialistic prerequisites: oil drilling technology, metal manufacturing, and gearing. As mentioned in the later section "Brief History of waterwheel in Europe", what they had is very similar to the technologies found in Europe just before it reached industrial revolution. Some of the inventions, such as the gearing technology and the Su Sung water clock, were perhaps more advanced than the contemporary European technologies. Then what caused such huge big difference? The answer will be addressed in section V : Comparative Analysis.

C. Yuan, Ming and Thereafter.
By the Yuan (1271-1368) and Ming (1368-1644) dynasties, the waterwheel technology had further improved. Nonetheless, there was no more distinct development of Chinese waterwheels after the Yuan and Ming dynasties. What is observed is a shift in the usage of waterwheels from the verge of industrial revolution to merely agricultural state. Although some records of technological waterwheels remain from Qing Dynasty, most of them are simply about the agriculture waterwheels that had been used since ancient times.
After 16th century, Chinese began to adopt the European style noria named "diancha" for irrigating water. This is a re-adoption of a technology that was long forgotten by the Chinese. They already had a very similar style waterwheel called the "dragon-bone wheel" in Han Dynasty and Song Dynasty. Unfortunately, the reason why such technologies had to be readopted is not clearly answered. The frequent changes of ruling authority and the foreign invasions might serve as a reason that caused the regression of waterwheel technology in China.
Figure 17. Chinese adoption of European Style waterwheel for agriculture (8)


III. History of Waterwheel in Korea
A. Introduction from China
In Korean history, the word "waterwheel (水車)" first appears in a book from Koryo Dynasty. According to Koryosa (the history of Koryo,고려사) (9), in 1362, one liege named Mun-bo Baek of king Gongmin suggested that the adoption of waterwheel technology from the Jiangnan province of China would be helpful for the farmers who often struggle with irrigation during drought periods. He explains to the king that the advantage of Chinese farmers over drought. He said, "the farmers in Jiangnan (江南) are not afraid of droughts because they have the waterwheel. Our farmers struggle during droughts because they don't know how to irrigate water from the river just a meter below the farmland. It would be a great help for the farmers if we would adopt the waterwheel from Jiangnan and enlighten our farmers with it so that they can fight the droughts more easily" (10). The waterwheel which Baek mun-bo observed should have been the chain-wheel type, called dragon-bone wheel, for these type of waterwheels is still used in modern day Jiangnan. Although it would have been reasonable for the king to take some action upon such request, not much is known about how the king reacted to this proposal afterward. No documents of Koryo after 1362 show any trace of waterwheel.
About a century earlier than 1362, there is a record of the King and Queen sightseeing a waterwheel in 1276, but this records lacks any detailed support (11).
There is a source that suggests the first record of waterwheel is even earlier. The History of Japan suggests that one monk from Koryo named Dam-jing first introduced the watermill to Japan in 610 (12). In fact, Joseph Needham insinuates this incident in his book by saying, "During the Thang, the water-mill had radiated to other countries in the Chinese culture-area, to Japan (via Korea) in +610 and +670 and to Tibet about +641." (13)
However, this claim is less credible because the original primary source uses the term "yeon-ae (연애)" which can basically indicate any type of mill powered by animals, water, wind and etc. But the record does itself explain that the mill was somewhat associated with water.

B. Continuous Attempts to Adopt and Promote the Waterwheel
More records of the waterwheel are found in the documents from Joseon Dynasty. According to Joseon Wangjo Sillok (Annals of the Joseon Dynasty), King Taejong in December 1406 encouraged his people to build the waterwheel and supported them by constructing few waterwheels per each town as samples and ordering the local government officials to construct additional waterwheels (14). This incident was the first time in Korean history when the government 'officially' encouraged its people to utilize waterwheel. That it was supported by the king is also a significant fact. However, it is not clear whether the waterwheel they tried to adopt was from China or Japan. Because the waterwheel technology had already spread from China to Japan long ago, and because Joseon and Japan had already established a diplomatic trade relationship by sending ambassadors in 1404, Koreans could have adopt either type of waterwheel from these two countries.
The next record of the waterwheel appears again in the records of King Sejong. Seosang Park, a Korean ambassador who visited Japan in 1429 brought back a mimic diagram of a Japanese waterwheel. Park did not officially gain the model from the Japanese government. Rather, he was motivated to remake a similar model after his companions had observed the automated waterwheel of the Japanese farmers. While the Japanese waterwheels were completely automatic, the old waterwheels of Korea needed both human power and the flow of water (Dragon-bone wheel from Jiangnan). Upon Park's vehement request to spread this type of waterwheel among farmers, Sejong actively carried a plan to popularize the usage of waterwheel in Joseon. Koreans distinguished this waterwheel by calling the new Japanese waterwheel 'Wae-sucha' and the old Chinse waterwheel 'Dang-sucha' (15). Sejong ran few test cases to confirm whether these waterwheels were actually effective or not. These tests proved that the waterwheel was greatly effective for irrigation. In 1431, Sejong sent mini-models of this waterwheel to the local rulers and ordered them to build waterwheels according to those models. He also assigned local officials who exclusively dealt with the construction of new waterwheels. The construction of the old type of waterwheel from Taejong's period also continued along with the new type. The fact that Sejong assigned officials designated only for the spread of waterwheel shows his serious attitude toward promoting the waterwheel to a country-wide trend. Sejong even promised to give royal awards to farmers who successfully utilize the new waterwheel technology (16).
However, Sejong faced two major problems in the process of carrying on this project. First, the rivers which Sejong intended to irrigate the water from were slow-flowing wide rivers. Because the Japanese model was suited for fast-flowing narrow rivers, the slow flow of the Korean rivers was not powerful enough to rotate the wheels automatically. Therefore, a device on which a person could generate additional energy by pedaling was attached to the model, turning the automated waterwheel to not-automated. The other problem Sejong had to deal with was the soil. The Korean soil soaked water so well that even though the irrigation of water from the river up to the farm land was successful, the farm land failed to contain the water long enough for farming. Sejong's waterwheel project ultimately ended after the officials reported him of this inefficiency.
The efforts to develop the irrigational waterwheels continued throughout Joseon dynasty, but the results were never as effective as that of the other irrigation methods popular in Joseon. In 1488, Choi-Bu, a government official under Seongjong, tested new Chinese waterwheel in Gyeongi Province. In 1502, Yeonsan-gun denied Yikkyeong Kim's request to build additional waterwheels (17). Yeonsan-gun claimed three reasons for not constructing anymore waterwheels. "First, waterwheels are difficult to control and manage. Second, the waterwheels become futile when severe droughts take place. Third, farmers do not need to irrigate water by waterwheel if it there is enough rain."
Although these claims partially constitute Joseon's reluctance to develop waterwheels, the major reason was the dominant popularity of the other irrigation methods. In 16th century, Cheon-bang and Je-eon were the two popular methods used for irrigation. Cheon-bang is an irrigation method which utilizes series of small dams, and Je-eon is the irrigation method which uses the water reservoirs. Because these two methods were so popular and well-working, the kings paid little attention to developing any other type of technology like the waterwheel.
In 1650, Hyojong, a prince who was kidnapped to live in China when the Qing invaded Joseon, expressed his will to promote the Qing style waterwheel when he came back to Joseon to become the king. And in 1783, Hosu Seo suggested King Jeongjo to adopt Yongmi-cha (Archimedean screw), a type of western waterwheel introduced by a western priest by the name of Sabbathino de Ursis (18). This type of waterwheel was generally of better quality than the Chinese waterwheels and was better suited for larger rivers. Jeongjo's interest in the waterwheels continued. He attempted to install few waterwheels in his Hwaseong Fortress, but these attempts failed due to financial issues. This suggests that the construction of the waterwheel was not his first priority in building his fortress. Although many books like 海東農書 (Haedongnongseo) from this period mention about the waterwheels, though many Joseon scholars were fascinated by the enlightened ideas of the West, none of the theoretical designs were actually used to construct real waterwheels (19).
After the 17th century, the government somewhat continueed to promote the waterwheel, but none of these trials had a significant impact on modern Joeseon society as did the attempts in previous centuries. What actually takes place instead, is the shift of focus from the waterwheel to the watermill. While the previous attempts focused exclusively on the irrigational function of the waterwheel, Joseon kings from the 17th century shift their gears toward the watermill for pounding grains. The reasons behind this shift will be addressed in an upcoming chapter.

C. Interaction with Japan
The possibility of early interaction between Koryo and Japan was suggested in the previous chapter. The interaction of the Joseon ambassadors with Japan during King Sejong's period is already addressed in the previous chapter as well. Therefore, this chapter focuses on the interactions between Joseon and Japan that took place around 15th century.
The Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592 turned out to be a failure, though it left a devastating impact on Joseon. When the Japanese retreated from Korean Peninsula in 1589, they brought Korean potters with them because they envied the advanced pottery industry of Joseon. Among the potters was Chanpyeong Lee who founded a new pottery industry in Arita, Japan. Such potters produced tools that they needed for pounding the ingredients for their pottery. Potters in Joseon had traditionally been using Tongbanga. So when the potters were brought to Japan, potters like Lee built similar Tongbangas based on their memory. Those Tongbangas were later used for pounding the grain as well.
The Japanese word for Tongbanga suggests that it came originally from Joseon. In Kyushu, the Japanese word for Tongbanga is ?臼, which basically means 'Korean Mill' (20). Although most of the Tongbangas in Korea are now all gone, there are still many left in Japan which are currently in-use.

D. Reasons Behind the Shift from the Waterwheel to the Watermill
As mentioned in the previous chapters, there were a number of attempts to promote the usage of the waterwheel throughout Joseon dynasty. In general, there were several discrepancies between the conditions of Korea and China that determined the success or failure of adopting the waterwheel technology. There were roughly three reasons why such attempts to spread the waterwheel turned out to be futile in the Korean peninsula. "First, the soil of the farmland was different from that of China. Second, the irrigational condition of the water sources was different. Third, the agricultural condition and economic problem that existed throughout Joseon Dynasty" (21).
The locations where the Chinese utilized the irrigational waterwheel were mainly centered on regions with vast plain and wide rivers like Jiangnan, through which the Yangtze River passes by. The soil in such regions mainly consisted of clay which did not absorb much water. The rivers always had a huge amount of water flowing fast throughout the year. The Chinese did not use the waterwheels in mountainous regions. However, most of rivers in Korea are slow-flowing and almost seem to be stationary in some regions. During droughts, the rivers completely dried up, making it impossible for the farmers to use their waterwheels.
During summer, there were many cases when it rained so much that the farmers did not need the waterwheels at all to irrigate any additional water to their farms. These reasons are supported by the cases of Park Seosang's and Kim Yikkyeong's case that were mentioned in the previous chapter.
The primary reason that Koreans did not utilize the waterwheel for irrigational purpose was mainly the geographical condition of the Korean Peninsula. While the rivers over-flew during summer, they were too shallow in the other seasons to use waterwheels; the rivers were inconsistent. The dynamic change of climate throughout the year and the vulnerability of the rivers made the other irrigation methods in Korea more effective than the waterwheel. Because many rivers flowing in mountainous regions are shallow and inconsistent, they were not suitable to run the waterwheels. Consistency was the key in using the waterwheel which the Koreans did not have. But this still does not answer the question why they did not apply this waterwheel technology to any other machines like the engineers of Song Dynasty did.
Then why did such attempts persist throughout the 500 years of Joseon Dynasty? It would be normal to give up on a policy if it continuously fails. In the late Joseon Dynasty, the farmers adopted a new type of farming method called 이앙법 (Yi-ang bup 移秧法) which required much more water to be irrigated than the traditional way of farming. The need to irrigate more amount of water eventually led to attempts to develop and utilize the waterwheel to some extent.
Moreover, the introduction of the new farming method led the waterwheel to change its form to the watermill, so called Mullebanga. As the production of food increased due to the new farming method in 17th century, there were more grains to be grinded. Although the existing types of mills had no problem grinding before 17th century, they weren't enough once the food production had increased. The number of mills powered by oxen decreased because the farmers needed the oxen to work on the farm land instead, and the number of oxen was very limited. Because Mullebanga was 17 times more effective than the traditional mills, it enabled the farmers to focus more on 'farming' than grinding their product. In general, Mullebanga greatly contributed to the increase of agricultural production of Joseon since the 17th century. Although waterwheel was thrown off by other irrigational methods in Korea, the other irrigational infrastructure such as dams and water reservoirs were very helpful for providing the adequate water source for the watermills.

E. Modern Korean Watermills
As engines operated by fuel and electricity were introduced to the farmers in 20th century, the traditional watermills gradually lost their place in Korean agriculture.
The traditional watermill was modernized by 1930. Although the wheel that generates the power maintained the same style even in the modern time, the structure inside the watermills completely changed with modernization. Although the traditional watermills were connected to wooden levers that repeatedly went up and down, the modern watermills were linked to belts that connected various machines together.
Currently, only two watermills are registered as the official Korean historical heritage.
This chapter explores these two watermills as the representative of modern Korean waterwheels.

a. Remaining Watermills :
1) Sil-Li Watermill/Tongbanga
One of the two Korean watermills addressed in this paper is located at Sil-li, Dogye-eup, exact GPS location of being 37 11'020 1290874. Sil-li watermill was designated as a national historical heritage in 1975. The date when it was built is unknown, but it is a typical 18th century Korean watermill. According to the locals, until 2003, the mill was still in use by the person who built it, so it would be reasonable to assume that it was built around early 1900s.
A trip to this watermill suggested how Koreans disregard the true value of their traditional watermills. The below is an observation from a trip to Sil-li waterwheel in May 26th, 2013 and July 7th, 2013.
Although the roads to historical sites are usually well-guided, it wasn't the case for this mill. Because it was hidden behind the guard rail of the road, it was necessary to pass by the same place thrice before discovering that the watermill was actually there. The guiding plates were inaccurate, and the mill seemed to be very minor compared to the other parts of the historical sight.

Figures 18-20. Sil-Li waterwheel

The above photo is the Sil-li waterwheel. The wheel part has recently been renovated, but there was no water flowing to actually rotate it, for the waterway was blocked by large stones. If there were any water, the water would have flowed in the upright direction and the wheel would have rotated forward. However, the axis which connects the wheel and the mill wasn't properly set. Also, the mill didn't have a mill stone. Instead, it had a T-Shaped mortar that grinded the grain. The mortal is located in a deep hole that would contain grains.

Figures 21,22. Sil-Li Tongbanga

Sil-li Tongbanga is located about few kilometers from the Sil-li watermill, GPS location being 3712035 12908000 The condition of Sil-li Tongbanga wasn't perfect. Many parts including the axis weren't at their original positions. In order for this mill to function properly again, it would require a renovation process as suggested in An Arcitectural Feature Study on the Restoration of Tonbanga-House at Samcheok (Daei-li) (22) which wrote about the renovation of another Tonbanga at Samcheok.
Another totally unexpected Tongbanga not far away from Sil-li, GPS location being 3719432 12912786. One remarkable thing about this Tongbanga is that it was located nowhere near water. It seemed like that it was removed from somewhere else. This unknown Tongbanga suggests that Samchoek is a region that is very closely associated with watermills.

2) Baekjeonli Watermill & General Trends

Figures 23,24,25. Baekjeonli Watermill

One unique characteristic of Baekjeon-li watermill is that the power generated by the watermill does not directly pound the grains. But, it powers an engine which is connected to several machines that are used for pounding grains. Similar types of waterwheels connected with belts were the crucial source of energy during the industrial revolution(before the Second industrial revolution).This watermill is has not been used since it was designated as one of the historical heritages.
Below is a table that shows the distribution of remaining watermills in Korea (includes those that aren't designated as historical heritage). In 2006, it was reported by the Korean Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries that there are currently 114 still functioning watermills: 56 in Kyeong-nam, 13 in Jeon-buk, 11 in Kyeong-buk, 11 in Jeon-nam, 7 in Chung-buk, 6 in Chung-nam, and 6 in Gangwon. And it was reported that 38 watermills are no longer in use. Most of these non-functioning watermills are either destroyed or preserved just for the beauty. The oldest watermill was built in 1850. Watermills built before the year 1950 were mostly built out of wood, but after they were built with metals and more tenable materials. The table below illustrates that more watermills are currently being used in Korea than expected. But still, only some Koreans pay attention to these old waterwheels today.
Table 1. Watermills in Korea (2006) (23)
Province Year built Functioning Not Functioning
Kangwondo 1963, 1975 6 4
Chungcheongnamdo 1950, 1957, 1967-1973 7 0
Chungcheongbukdo 1900-1956, 1970 9 4
Cheollanamdo 1881-1995 11 7
Cheollabukdo 1850-1960 13 9
Gyeongsangbukdo 1921-1956 11 8
Gyeongsangnamdo 1880-1978 56 4


IV. Brief History of Waterwheel in Europe


Figures 26. Ancient European Water Turbine (24)


The origin of modern industry dates back to the late 18th and early 19th century when the traditional human-powered labors were replaced by the revolutionary steam engines. But, in even earlier times, people seek to help themselves by utilizing the water power. It was in 8 and 9th century when the European first actively began to utilize water power.
One of the prevalent ways by which the Europeans utilized was the installation of the waterwheels. The mechanics of the early models of waterwheels were relatively simple compared to the later waterwheels that were associated with gearing technology. The early waterwheel rotated horizontally along with the flow of the river, and it was connected directly to a millstone through a vertical shaft that transferred the power generated by the rotation of the wheel. However, this early model was only 5~15% efficient and generated about one horse power of force on average.
There are two other types of major European waterwheel : the overshot and the undershot. The undershot and overshot waterwheel were invented by Hellenistic engineers between the 3rd and 2nd century BC. (24a)
The undershot waterwheel generated energy through the reaction force produced by the water flowing under. Although such type of waterwheel could operate in any slow-flowing rivers, it worked best in closed water ways. A typical waterwheel operated at an average of 20-30% energy efficiency (25), producing energy about five times that of the ancient water turbines.
The overshot waterwheel generated energy through the gravitational force that pulls down the buckets attached to the wheel as they are filled with the influx of water from water flowing from above. One bucket after the other are filled and then emptied repeatedly, making the wheel rotate continuously. This type of waterwheel required larger dams and waterways located above the wheel since it could not deal with a large amount of flowing water compared to the undershot waterwheel. But with only small amount of water and with little height difference of 3-12 meters, it could be operated at 50-70% energy efficiency, producing about 2-40 horse power on average. However, these numbers are not accurate figures because no primary source accurately documents the power output of waterwheels before 1700. (25a)
One of the key factors that contributed to the change in technological paradigm in European history was the Rule of Saint Benedict which laid its foundation on the laws established in early 6th century (26). There were two special characteristics with these set of rules. First, the monks, living communally under the authority of an abbot, were encouraged to devote a strict amount of time to laboring, reading, studying, and meditating. Second, monks had to distance themselves from the secular society by maintaining a self-sustainable living environment - a factor that seems more significant historically, for it stimulated their need to develop water-powered technology. They could save more time for praying and studying by spending less time on manual labors that the watermills had substituted for them instead.
The center of medieval water-power culture was mainly located near the rivers that flowed into the Bay of Biscay, the English Channel, and the North Sea. Because there were hundreds of small or medium size tributaries, it was convenient for people there to engage in water-power development.
The Cistercian Order was one of the most active groups that engaged in promoting water power. By 1300, there were more than 500 Cistercian monetary; most of them owned at least one watermill, and some of them even had more than five or more. Another factor that contributed the spread of water power in medieval Europe was the feudal lords who looked for more profit from the serfs and farmers who worked on their lands.
Therefore, the growth of the European water power technology is attributed to its social, economic, and geographical factors. Since the 9th century, waterwheels were operating throughout Europe. In late 11th century, England under the control of Norman had 5,264 watermills, and in late 13th century, France had 95,000 operating watermills. (26a)
The emphasis of waterwheel technology eventually shifted to transforming the rotational energy into various other forms, so that people can utilize water power more creatively - they saw the potential of the waterwheel in fields other than agriculture and irrigation. The engineers from 10 to 15th century focused on transforming the rotational motion into a set of linear operation. They devised two mechanical structure that served their goal : the Cam mechanism and Crank Shaft. "Cam mechanism is a rotating or sliding piece in a mechanical linkage used especially in transforming rotary motion into linear motion or vice-versa. A crank is an arm attached at right angles to a rotating shaft by which reciprocating motion is imparted to or received from the shaft. It is used to convert circular motion into reciprocating motion, or vice-versa." (27)

Figures 27,28. Cam Mechanism (left), Crank Shaft (right) (28)


The Europeans learned paper making from Chinese in early 12th century. The process involved pounding of the rags underwater. In late 13th century, Europeans used trip hammers connected to waterwheels for that purpose. Trip hammers used for paper making is one of the most significant applications of the cam mechanism. By 14th century, significant number of Europeans were utilizing these hammers for various purposes.

Figure 29. Furnace bellows worked by a vertical water-wheel (29)


However, Cam mechanism had a more significant impact on European metal industry. In medieval Europe, the ironmasters used to melt stones in bellows that were filled with air pumped by human power. The cam mechanism was used for two functions : first in the trip hammers that were used to pound the stones to be manufactures, and then to constantly blow air into the bellows.
Terry S. Reynolds, the author of Medieval Roots of the Industrial Revolution, claims that the Chinese and Arabs did not have either the trip hammer or bellows associated with the waterwheels (29a). This is definitely not true, for the Chinese already had almost identical mechanisms in Song Dynasty (and even back in ancient Han Dynasty) as mentioned in the previous section.

Figure 30. An Upshot waterwheel connected to a mining pump by crank shaft (30)


Crank shaft, the other mechanism that transforms rotational motion to linear motion, was already present in 2nd century China. But it first appeared in Europe in 9th century and was attached to waterwheels in 10th century. Waterwheels with crank shaft were mainly used for water pumps and silk mills.
From 1550 to 1750, Europeans were utilizing water power in almost every manufacturing system that dealt with weapon making, metals, chemicals, silk, cloth and so on, a phenomenon, an eminent precursor of industrial revolution.
As the industrial revolution took place in Europe from about 1760, waterwheels and watermills changed their forms according to the new industrial paradigm. By 1880s, most waterwheels were connected to rollers belts that transferred the energy to engines and turbines, which is the style of waterwheel seen in recent Korean waterwheels like the Baekjeon-li waterwheel. The below is an example of silk manufacturing factory that used a single waterwheel as the source of energy. But the machines ran by the factory are all industrialized.

Figure 31. Silk Manufacturing factory powered by waterwheel connected by belts (30a)


V. Comparative Analysis

As the last section of this paper, this chapter aims to answer the four primary questions from a comparative perspective.

1) Why did Song Dynasty not reach industrial revolution even if it was on the verge of industrial revolution?
Derk Bodde, the author of Chinese Thought, Society, and Science, defines Song Dynasty as a "renaissance" dynasty in which political weakness coupled with great economic development, urbanization, spread of printing, rise of Neo-Confucianism, decline of Buddhism (30b). This definition of Song Dynasty perhaps implies the key reason that Song could not reach the industrial revolution while the Europeans could. The social structure and political instability were the two main factors that circumvented Song from crossing the threshold to industrial revolution.
In order to investigate the reason of failure for Song Dynasty, it is necessary to take a close look at how the Europeans became successful. European history is defined by the severe competitions among the divided states that were ruled by separate authorities and ruling groups. Because there was no single central authority that governed everything, technological development could be separated from the political changes that continuously affected Europe. This fact does not mean that scientific advancement was of mere importance; advanced technologies, especially those associated with weaponry, was a determining factor in fight of numerous European states against their competitors. Private institutions that were not associated with political authorities patronized various scientific researches, providing an environment in which engineers could freely realize their creative ideas that gradually built up the "industrial revolution". Such competitive ambience was the energy that fueled the engine of European technological advancement. The point that the change occurred in Europe was from the bottom rather than top should be noted, for that is the major difference between China and Europe.
The first possible explanation for Chinese failure is the tendency of Chinese families to hide their secrets. While Europeans were relatively more generous about sharing their intellectual knowledge with their neighbors, Chinese families tended to keep their technological skills top confidential, for such knowledge enabled the family to make a living out of it.
The second possible explanation derives from the political structure of China. Chinese Dynasties had traditionally substantiated their power with the Mandate of Heaven because it was hard to control such gigantic group with weak rationale. For the same reason, they prevented the public from forming private associations or institutions, which possibly could undermine the central authorities. An overly strong central authority lead to no change from the bottom, and prevented creative ideas from being funded free of government interference. Therefore, Chinese engineers were susceptible to the lack of continuous patronization, for the arbitrary kings constantly changed their minds.
As Mongols took over China, there were nobody left to support such huge projects that required country-wide patronages. Although the technological development continued to some extent during Yuan and Ming dynasty, China failed to persist through the threshold of the industrial revolution. And by 16th century, China's waterwheel technology had experienced a devastating regression?they were readopting their ancient waterwheels from the Europeans.

2) Why did the advanced waterwheel technology of China not spread to Koryo and Joseon, despite their intimate cultural and military affiliation?

The first official record of waterwheel in Korean history is found in Koryosa (1362) as mentioned previously. It is important to notice that Yuan Dynasty was in power from 1271 to 1368. Therefore, the waterwheel that Munbo Baek was trying to bring, although was an invention from Song Dynasty, was already under the control of Mongols. This simple fact allows three speculations to be made.
First, the waterwheel technology was already in decline because the royal patronage from the Song dynasty could not continue after the invasion of the Mongols. Although, the Mongols would have known about the advanced waterwheel technologies, they would not have paid much attention to them because their primary focus was expansion, not sophisticated technologies that were perpendicular to weaponry. It seems like that the Mongols accidently disregarded the possibility of metal manufacturing through those remnants of watermills (Trip Hammer & Automated Furnace). Therefore, Korean scholars like Munbo Baek would not have had the chance to take a look at the once glorious waterwheel culture of Song Dynasty.
Second, Joseon Dynasty, which was built upon Neo-Confucian ideals, would have been reluctant to learn anything from Yuan Dynasty which they considered as barbarians. This might be the reason why King Gongmin did not respond to Munbo Baek's urgent request to adopt Chinese waterwheels, for it would be a shame to learn a technology(considered low-level deed) from barbarians.
Lastly, Yuan Dynasty could have known the true potential of the waterwheel technology they had. If that's the case, they would have kept it as top secret, for Koryo and Joseon were possible threat to their stability.
Above speculations are reasonable but they should not be regarded as the absolute right answers for the question.

3) What prevented Koreans from developing advanced waterwheels and why were the usages of waterwheel so limited in Korea?

There were several factors that hindered Koreans from developing advanced waterwheel technologies. But among those reasons, lack of interest -present not only among the lower class farmers but also among the royal patrons such as the kings - played the most crucial role. In other words, the prevalent reluctance among Koreans to adopt and invent new technologies prevented them from taking a step further with their merely agricultural waterwheels.
Geographical condition is one of the superficial reasons. Yeonsan-gun, one of the kings who failed to promote waterwheel during Joseon Dynasty claimed that waterwheels are useless because they are difficult to control and manage, because the waterwheels become futile when severe droughts take place, and because farmers do not need to irrigate water by waterwheel if it there is enough rain. His claims are in fact reasonable to some extent, for Korean rivers from which they tried to irrigate water from were usually slow-flowing inconsistent rivers. An inundating river might be completely dry during Spring or Fall, an arbitrary natural condition that made it very difficult to run waterwheels during certain times of year. Because building waterwheels required quite some resources, money, and time, it would have been burdensome to build such luxurious device just to use for short periods of time. However, such claims are a representation of the king's lack of interest in persisting to develop the waterwheels. Koreans could have altered the ways rivers flew just by digging some tributaries from the rivers, if they had been very serious about utilizing waterwheel for agriculture.
Another incident that shows the reluctance of Korean kings to treat the building of waterwheels seriously. Although Jeongjo, the enlightened king and pioneer of European technologies showed interest in building waterwheel in his Hwaseong fortress, the plan was eventually canceled due to financial issues. Waterwheel was definitely not his first-priority interest.
Now, it's not hard to imagine the reason why Koreans couldn't think of using the waterwheel for industrial power source; they were struggling even with the very basic function of the waterwheel and could not think beyond the superficial function of it. Also, the inconsistency and relentless changes in the policies of different kings made each waterwheel project discrete. The interest of several kings did not continue long enough to establish advanced waterwheel technology in Korea.
There is a similarity between China and Korea in that waterwheel and other technologies were promoted by the authority at the top, and not by private institutions at the bottom. The Neo-Confucian principles encouraged people to look down at people who engage in technological deeds, thereby discouraging the entire population from developing creative thoughts about science and technology. Koreans perhaps showed little interest in technology, not because they innately disliked them but because they were forced to do so. As shown in the comparison between Chinese and European history, an advancement in technology is only achieved though the competition among ambitious private engineers. Therefore, the very same reason why the Chinese could not reach industrial revolution applies to Korea as well.

Notes
(1) Documentary : Ancient.Discoveries.Machines of Ancient China.III, History Channel
(2) Kim Jae-Ho in his The relationship between Waterwheel, the foreign culture, and the watermill, the folk culture criticizes Lee Chun-nyeng and Chae Young-am for misusing the term waterwheel (수차) in their work 한국의 물레방아 (The Waterwheel of Korea)
(3) http://www.jeonnam.go.kr/upload/board//jhistory2/007.gif
(4) Joseph Needham
(5) Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, Volume 4
(6) Ibid.
(7) Ibid.
(8) 이춘녕.채영암(Lee Chun-nyeng, Chae Young-am), 한국의 물레방아(The Waterwheel of Korea)
(9) 고려사』권79, 「지」33 [식화2] 농상 (History of Koryo, Volume 79. Chapter 33).
(10) From 이춘녕.채영암 (Lee Chun-nyeng, Chae Young-am), 한국의 물레방아 (The Waterwheel of Korea), 서울대학교출판부 (Seoul National Univeristy), 1990
(11) 박성래(Park Sung-rae), 보존돼야할기술문화재물레방아, 한국과학기술의맥 vol 39
(12) Ibid.
(13) Joseph Needham, Science and civilization in China
(14) 이춘녕.채영암(Lee Chun-nyeng, Chae Young-am), 한국의 물레방아(The Waterwheel of Korea)
(15) 박성래(Park Sung-rae), 보존돼야할기술문화재물레방아, 한국과학기술의맥 vol 39
(16) Ibid.
(17) Kim Jae-Ho, 외래문화인 수차와 민속문화인 물레방아의 관계
(18) Ibid.
(19) Ibid.
(20) 이춘녕.채영암(Lee Chun-nyeng, Chae Young-am), 한국의 물레방아(The Waterwheel of Korea)
(21) Kim Jae-Ho, The relationship between Waterwheel, the foreign culture, and the watermill, the folk culture
(22) Choi, Jang-Soon, Kim, Jin-Won, An Arcitectural Feature Study on the Restoration of Tongbanga-House at Samcheok, 2008
(23) 이춘녕.채영암(Lee Chun-nyeng, Chae Young-am), 한국의 물레방아(The Waterwheel of Korea)
(24) Documentary : Discovery Channel, More Industrial Revelations Europe : 02 Bread, Beer, and Salt
(25) Efficiency : the ratio of energy output to input during energy conversions
(26) Terry S. Reynolds, Medieval Roots of the Industrial Revolution
(27) Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cam, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crank_(mehcanism)
(28) Joseph Needham, Science in Traditional China : A Comparative Perspective
(29) Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, Volume 4: Physics and Physical Technology
(30) 이춘녕.채영암(Lee Chun-nyeng, Chae Young-am), 한국의 물레방아(The Waterwheel of Korea)

Bibliography

History of the Korean Waterwheels & Watermills
1) Choi Jang-Soon, Kim Jin-Won, An Architectural Feature Study on the Restoration of Tongbanga-House at Samcheok , 2008
2) Kim Jae-Ho, 외래문화인 수차와 민속문화인 물레방아의 관계(The Relationship between Waterwheel, the Foreign culture, and the Watermill, the Folk culture)
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History of the Chinese Waterwheel
1) Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, Volume 4: Physics and Physical Technology, Part 2, Mechanical Engineering, 1965
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History of the European Waterwheel
1) Jean Gimpel, The Medieval Machine : The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages
2) Documentary : Discovery Channel, More Industrial Revelations Europe : 02 Bread, Beer, and Salt
3) Documentary : Discovery Channel, More Industrial Revelations Europe : 09 Cutting If Fine
4) Roger D. Hansen, Water Wheels, http://waterhistory.org/histories/waterwheels/waterwheels.pdf
5) Medieval Roots of the Industrial Revolution, Terry S. Reynolds, Scientific American, vol. 251, No. 1, July, 1984, p.108-116
6) Wikipedia : Noria, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noria