General Question

DaphneT's avatar

How were water fountains built before the advent of electricity?

Asked by DaphneT (5659 points ) July 7th, 2012

Many of the old and large homes and estates built before electricity in Italy, Great Britain, Newport Rhode Island, etc. have water fountains in their gardens, how did they build them? What was the secret to circulating the water or pumping it ‘upwards’?

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8 Answers

Lightlyseared's avatar

Gravity. You put the water source for the fountain way higher than fountain (usually up a mountain) creating a hydraulic head to push the water out of the fountain. As for getting the water up to the source… rain.

ragingloli's avatar

Gravity, and early water pumps, powered by wind and water, mostly.
There is a nice docu on youtube

CWOTUS's avatar

You might also be very interested to learn about a non-electric hydraulic ram pump (the link is to the Wikipedia article, but there is a ton of information on the web about how you could build one of these at home in a day if you wish). The technology is about 200 years old, and we’ve only been using electricity for a little over 100 years.

I’ve never seen one in operation other than the various YouTube videos around the web, but they can reportedly pump water (not in high volumes, but continuously) up to 300 meters or more.

YARNLADY's avatar

Sometimes it is possible to give power to water by having it flow through successively smaller pipes until it has enough power to be pushed upwards by the force of the water behind it.

woodcutter's avatar

It all is related to to head pressure.

DaphneT's avatar

@bkcunningham, thanks for the link. That was great to read. Thank you as well to @CWOTUS and @ragingloli for your links. @YARNLADY, thanks for that info. I’ll have to find the reducer connections to be able to test that myself.

Nullo's avatar

Your very own toilet works on water pressure.

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