Watermill (Agriculture and Rural Economy – Windmills and Watermills – Plate VI)

Volume 1, Agriculture and Rural Economy – Windmills and Watermills (Agriculture et économie rustique – moulins à vent et à eau) Plate VI

The inclusion of a watermill under the Agricultural and Rural Economy section represents the pre-Industrial Revolution world in which Diderot and the Encyclopédie were situated. Prior to the invention of the steam engine, industry relied on power from natural sources such as wind and moving water. While not automated or artificially powered, mills represented a high degree of mechanization. In this plate, a water wheel powers a millwheel for the grinding of flour.

Denis Diderot (1713-1784)
Encyclopédie. Volume 1, Agriculture and Rural Economy – Windmills and Watermills (Agriculture et économie rustique – moulins à vent et à eau) Plate VI.
Paris: Briasson [etc.], 1751-1772