Invented in the 1870s by Lester Allan Pelton, the Pelton Wheel revolutionized hydro-power and hydroelectricity.
Manufactured at the Miners Foundry, the Pelton Wheel is an impulse type water turbine which extracted energy from moving water, as opposed to water’s dead weight.
The paddle geometry design used by Pelton meant when the rim ran at half the speed of the water jet, the water left the wheel with very little speed extracting almost all of the water’s impulse energy.
There are a number of Pelton Wheels on display at the Miners Foundry and around Nevada City. The floor of the Upper Gallery is decorated in honor of the largest single pour of a Pelton Wheel in history.