Like many apparently simple devices, the vertical water wheel has been around for so long that it is taken for granted. Yet this "picturesque artifact" was for centuries man's primary mechanical source of power and was the foundation upon which mills and other industries developed. Stronger than a Hundred Men explores the development of the vertical water wheel from its invention in ancient times through its eventual demise as a source of power during the Industrial Revolution. Spanning more than 2000 years, Terry Reynolds's account follows the progression of this labor-saving device from Asia to the Middle East, Europe, and America--covering the evolution of the water wheel itself, the development of dams and reservoirs, and the applications of water power. Reynolds also considers the social, economic, and technological influences of the water wheel; scientific research into water power technology; and attempts to adapt the wheel to unusual operating conditions. This extensively documented and well-illustrated study has become a standard reference in the role of energy in human history.