Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Next to the main car park at Carsington Water, is the Visitor Centre, with its restaurant, shop and exhibition. Attached, is a small courtyard with a selection of shops and the Kugel Stone.

The Kugel Stone is a one tonne ball of solid granite which has a diameter of 90cm and rests in a socket into which is pumped a thin film of water. The water lubricates the Kugel, holding it suspended just above the socket. The double pump supplies water at two different speeds which combine to create 1.2 bars of pressure (17.5 pounds per square inch) and cause the Kugel to rotate slowly. The force of the water carrying the weight of the stone is such that the Kugel can easily be encouraged to spin by pushing with just one hand. It is normal to see the Kugal surrounded by visitors all waiting their turn to make the heavy ball spin, and fun to see the expressions on the faces of little children when they succeed in moving something so big.

Thinking about it, the movement of the Kugel Stone is clear testimony to the power of water.

Incidentally, Kugel is a German word meaning 'ball' and the one at Carsington is not unique. Similar granite ball fountains are on show at such places as the Kennedy Space Centre (where the sphere is engraved with the Constellations) and the Science Museum of Virginia (which is the largest in the world and resembles a globe). 

The sphere is always honed from granite, but may range in diameter from 1 foot to 10 feet. 


  1. Very interesting ! and yes indeed Kugel means ball, lol !

  2. Fascinating - I've been in that courtyard a few times and looked at the kugel but never really taken in the science of it, you explained it so well - I will look at it in a different light now. We will be going there soon, I expect, as I like to get my christmas cards from the RSPB shop:)

  3. I love the reflection of the building on the ball's watery surface. Beautiful capture.

  4. What an interesting and beautiful fountain this is! I'd love to make it spin. I'll be sure to look for the fountains in the US if I ever visit those spots.