The Leffel Water Turbine
The Leffel Turbine is named after James Leffel who founded The Leffel Turbine company in Springfield, Ohio in the year 1861. When this area of the mill burned in 1869, the water wheel was destroyed and since the turbine was relatively new and more powerful, it was installed. The mill's owners at the time were the Armstrong family.
Until then the Clifton mill used an under shot water wheel, which simply means the water ran behind the lower back side of the wheel. The water wheel that most people think of when they think of old mills is called an over shot wheel.
The turbine at Clifton Mill gets it's water supply from a mill race, which is simply a small stream or creek that is made by cutting a channel and diverting water held back by a dam. The Leffel turbine creates almost 300 horse power at 900 RPM. Water from the mill race enters the turbine from the top tube. It passes through valves and paddles which spin them around. The paddles are attached to a piece that holds the main shaft, so when the paddles spin, the shaft spins. The water is discharged through the draft tubes at the bottom. It is these draft tubes which help give the turbine its power or torque. The pull of the water falling down the draft tubes give it more power. The turbine also creates a strong suction from the smaller pipe in the front. This suction power was used in the early days to help vacuum out the mill. On the back side of the turbine there was a strong push of air which was used to cool the place down by blowing the constant air over a block of ice. The water power was also used for the millers work bench area to turn the lathe and table saw. This is pure clean power, the water is not heated or treated in any way.