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During times when overshot and undershot water wheels provided power for turning millstones, much depended upon the miller's judgment. “A big order is coming in tomorrow. Better shut down this afternoon. The trash rack needs to be cleaned and the flash boards raised.” Common sense could solve most of the problems in those days. It had to, if business was to continue.

As the industrial revolution progressed, generation of electricity became a possibility. Higher rotational speeds than could be obtained by belts, pulleys, or gears were needed. Ingenious though the miller might have been, he had to depend on engineers who understood electricity and high-velocity flow to mate water wheels to dynamos. Enough engineers did, and by making tests of a variety of designs, often with small-scale runners, were able to guarantee the efficiency of hydroelectric generators suitable for a variety of sites. The miller was thus relieved of the “high-tech” decision. Now all important decisions fall to his successors, the utility companies, with assistance(?) from the State Utilities Boards and the National Securities and Exchange Commission.