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M ECH ANIC ARTS :
INCLUDING T H E PROGRESS I V E DEVELOPMENT OF
Toscriptions of Every v ARIETY of BELLows, Piston, AND RotARY PUMPs—FIRE EN-
IN FIVE BOOKS. -
Hi, LUSTRATED BY NEARLY THREE HUNDRED ENGRAVINGS.
BY THOMAS EwBANK.
It is a cruel mortification in searching for what is instructive in the history of past times, to find the
* /3 Robertson's India.
D. A PPLETON AND COMPANY.,
200 B. R O A D W A Y.
Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1842, by Thomas Ewbank, in the Clerk's Office of the Southern District of New-York.
windo, printery, 99 Reade st. Dill, Stereotyper, 128 Fulton st.
CIRCUMSTANCEs having led me, in early life, to take an interest in practical hydraulics, I became anxious to obtain an account of all the contrivances employed by different people to raise water—whether for domestic, agricultural, mining, manufacturing, or other purposes; and great was the disappointment I felt on learning that no book containing the information I sought had ever been published. This was the case between thirty and forty years ago; and, notwithstanding the numerous journals and other works devoted to the useful arts, it is in a great measure the case still. No one publication, so far as my knowledge extends, has ever been devoted to the great variety of devices which the human intellect has developed
- for raising liquids. That such a work is wanted by a large class of
mechanics, if not by others, can hardly be questioned; and it is somewhat surprising that it was never undertaken.
It appears from La Hire's Preface to Mariotte's Treatise on the Motion of Fluids, that the latter philosopher often expressed a determination to write “on the different pumps and other engines which are in use, or which have been proposed,” but unfortunately he did not live to carry his design into effect. The celebrated work of Belidor, from its extent, and the variety of subjects embraced and illustrated, stands at the head of modern works on hydraulic devices; but of the four large volumes, a small part only is devoted to machines for raising water, and many such are not noticed at all : besides, the cost of the work and the language in which it is written will always prevent it from becoming a popular one with American or English machinists.
Having in the course of several years collected memoranda and procured most of the works quoted in the following pages, I have attempted to prepare a popular volume on the subject—something like the one I formerly longed for—feeling persuaded that it will be as acceptable to mechanics under circumstances similar to those to which I have alluded as it would then have been to myself. Every individual device for raising water has, of course, not been described, for that would have been impossible; but every class or species will be found noticed, with such examples of each as will enable the general reader to comprehend the principle and action of all. In addition to which, inventors of hydraulic machines can here see what has been accomplished, and thus avoid wasting their energies on things previously known.
IV prer Ace.
In a work of this kind little that is new can be expected ; I have not, however, servilely copied any author, but have written the whole as if little had been written before. I have sought for information wherever I could find it; and with this view have perused more volumes than it would be prudent to name. A few gleanings which modern writers have passed over have been picked up—two or three ancient devices have been snatched from oblivion, as the atmospheric sprinkling pot and the philosophical bellows, and some erroneous opinions have been corrected; that, for example, respecting the origin of the safety valve. There is little room for the charge of arrogance in claiming this much, since it is all I have to claim and it is nothing but what a little industry in any one else would have realized. Several devices of my own have also been introduced which must speak for themselves. On referring to old works that are expensive or of rare occurrence I have generally quoted the very words of the writers, under the impression that some of these works will not long be met with at all. For the convenience of perusal the work is broken into chapters, and as much miscellaneous matter has been introduced, an index is added. The general arrangement and division of the subject will be found at the close of the first chapter.
In tracing the progress of any one of the primitive arts, it is difficult to
avoid reference to others. They are all so connected that none can be per
fectly isolated. I have therefore introduced such notices of inventions and inventors as seemed useful to be known : facts which appeared interesting to the writer as a mechanic, he supposed would not be wholly without interest in the opinion of his brethren. In this, I am aware, it is easy to to be mistaken; for it is a common error to imagine that things which are interesting to ourselves must be equally so to others. As, however, all those devices that contribute to the conveniences of life will ever possess an intrinsic value, the hope is indulged that the following account of several important ones, although it may present little attraction to general readers, will at least be found useful to those for whom it is more especially designed. It certainly is not what I could wish, but it is the best I could produce. I am sensible that it has many imperfections, and there are doubtless many more which have not been perceived. That I have often been diverted from the subjects embraced in the title-page is true; and as the whole was written at long intervals, even of years, a want of order and connection may be perceived in some parts, and obscurity felt in others. All that I can offer to diminish the severity of criticism, is freely to admit there is much room for it. In noticing various hydraulic devices, I have endeavored to award honor to whomsoever it was due : to say nothing of the ancients, with whom most of them originated, it may here be observed that the Germans were the earliest cultivators of practical hydraulics in modern times. The Dutch (part of that people) contributed to extend a knowledge of their inventions. It was a Dutchman who constructed the famous machinery at Marli, and England was indebted to another for her first water-works at London Bridge. The simplest pump-box or piston known, the inverted cone of leather, is of German origin, and so is the tube-pump of Muschenbroek. Hose for fire-engines, both of leather and canvas, was invented by Dutchmen. They carried the chain-pump of China to their settlements in India, and also to Europe. Van Braam brought it to the U. States. A German invented the air-pump, and the first high pressure steam-engine figured in books was by another. As regards hydraulic machinery, the Dutch have been to the moderns, in some degree, what the Egyptians were to the ancients—their teachers. The physical geography of Holland and Egypt