A layshaft like this in a waterwheel driven mill is the very important horizontal driveshaft that delivers the energy generated by the turning waterwheel. It gears up the velocity by means of a series of two variously sized flat belt pulleys, which can be seen towards the end of the shaft.

This shaft was probably the one used by Joshua Chauvet in his grist mill early on, later adapting it to drive his wooden destemmer-crusher and wine presses when he began producing wine in 1875.

In 1889 a contemporary writer described Chauvet's operation in this way: "The stemmer, crusher and press which are run by water-power drawn from a reservoir at an elevation of 150 feet above the building, can crush 60 tons of grapes a day."