A curious Spanish, Trafalgar-era, overshot waterwheel

Someone please explain to me how it works.

A normal overshot wheel manages outflow like this:

So what on earth is going on at the bottom of this (otherwise virtually undocumented) patent application? Have they figured out some smart paddle mechanism that enables them to raise the efficiency marginally? Or is the whole thing a load of bollocks? (The Romans were using overshot wheels in Spain to cope with low water pressure, so I kind of suspect the latter.)

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  1. Looks like simple casing around the paddles. There’s a break in the casing at the top and at the bottom and even if it’s not perfectly engineered there’s mechanical advantage. Must have been pretty good craftsmen to rig it up.

  2. I’ll buy that, but why, if it’s a patent application, don’t they draw that bit? They’re peripatetic hydraulic engineers and say that they’ve produced a trial version of their innovation in wood but the intention is to make the real thing in stone. Weird.

  3. Bribe an official to get your patent registered without showing the crucial bit? If enforcement was poor, that way you get your cake and eat it. The stone / wood bit is as you say weird. I suppose you could build the casing out of something hard and have a wooden wheel inside it, but their drawing doesn’t show that. Have fun!

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