History of Water Pumps

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History of Water Pumps

Water pumps have been existent since 3000 B.C. Early pumps were made with water wheels and chutes, and used animals to provide the energy to move the wheels. Modern pumps include a centrifugal pump, axial flow pump, jet pump and electromagnetic pump.



The Mesopotamians were responsible for the first pump around 3000 B.C. They used a wooden lever next to the water bank, with a counterweight on one end and a bucket on the other. When the pole was pushed down, the counterweight brought the bucket back up and it emptied into a trough.

500 B.C.

Three pumps were invented around 500 B.C. They included the waterwheel with pots attached, a waterwheel with compartments for the water, and a bucket chain, which was a line that ran over a pulley with buckets attached.


Force Pump

The force pump had a cylinder that used a plunger at the top to use a vacuum to draw water through valves. It was invented by Ctesibus of Alexandria, Egypt. Hand pumps are included in this type.

Centrifugal Pump and Savery Pump

The centrifugal pump is motor-driven, with internal workings that create suction to pull the water. It was invented in the late 1600s by Denis Papin. In 1698, Thomas Avery invented a pump that operated on steam to create a vacuum to draw water.


Axial-flow and Jet Pumps

Since the 1940s, axial-flow pumps have been used a compressors in jet engines. Jet pumps are used in wells that are deeper than 200 feet.

Electromagnetic Pumps

Electromagnetic pumps are used to move conductive liquids and can handle extremely high temperatures. This type of pump is used in nuclear reactors.