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Hydraulic architecture, or the art of managing waters for the various needs of life
Hydraulic architecture, or the art of managing waters for the various needs of life

We continue to acquaint the readers of with historical sources. This time I bring to your attention a book dedicated to the art of engineering, specifically concerning hydraulics and construction in water and on water.

This book was published in France in 1737 and it is called "Hydraulic architecture, or the art of diverting, raising and managing waters for the various needs of life" (Architecture hydraulique, ou, L'art de conduire, d'elever et de menager les eaux pour les différens besoins de la vie).

The book is quite voluminous: in 4 volumes, each of which contains from 400 to 700 pages and about 50-70 detailed drawings.

The drawings are very interesting. Text, maybe too. But it is difficult for me to read it, because it is written not just in French, which I don’t know, but in Old French, which is not always readable for a Google translator.

I will give selectively some pictures from this book.

Water mills

Volume 1 describes the general principles of mechanics, the various mechanisms that drive the wheels of mills and crushers.

The thickness of the walls of this mill is impressive. If we take the thickness of the chimney as 0.5 m, then the thickness of the walls turns out to be more than 2 meters in the upper part and about 4 in the lower.

Rochefort (fr. Rochefort) is a commercial port in the French department of Charente Primorskaya, on the right bank of the Charente, 16 km from its confluence with the Bay of Biscay and the Ile d'Ex islands with a citadel, a fort and a lighthouse.

Channels and gateways

The second volume deals with the arrangement of ports, channels leading to them, gateways and various mechanisms and tools for their construction. Mainly based on the example of the French port of Dunkirk.

This port is located on the English Channel, 75 km north-west of Lille and 295 km north of Paris and 10 km from the border with Belgium. This is the same Dunkirk where the famous Dunkirk operation took place:

"The Dunkirk evacuation, codenamed Operation Dynamo, is an operation during the French campaign of World War II to evacuate by sea the British, French and Belgian units blocked by the city of Dunkirk by German troops after the Battle of Dunkirk." History of the Second World War. Paulton, 1966-1968, p. 248

Even a film was shot on this topic. It's called Dunkirk. This drawing shows the development of Dunkirk:

The Atlantic Ocean has the highest tides. Which occur regularly twice a day. The highest tide height of -18 m is observed off the coast of Nova Scotia (in Canada). Off the coast of France, they can reach 14-15 m, in the English Channel (where the port of Dunkirk is located) - up to 11 -12 m.

Therefore, it has always been important for France to have ports that do not depend on the tidal movement of the ocean.

To do this, a canal was dug to the port, which was blocked off with locks so that during low tide the water would not leave it and the ships located there remained afloat.

Here you can clearly see the coastline at high tide - it is marked by a bank. The actual length of the canal is just the difference in the coastline at high tide and at low tide.

In all these plans, we see the same principle: a long canal running from the coastline at low tide into the fortress, and a sluice at the entrance to the fortress itself. Water retention may have been necessary not only for anchorage of ships, but also for a number of defensive ditches.

On the black and white drawing, it is perhaps difficult to see that the beautiful, regular teeth are a combination of earthen ramparts and ditches filled with water. This diagram can be seen more clearly:

All star fortresses were surrounded by a double or triple ring of water. But were such complex forms necessary for defense? This is another question.

Pumps and water towers

The third volume is devoted to the art of supplying, raising and purifying water, as well as the description of pumps and other mechanisms and products necessary for this.

development of a domestic (French) pump Development of a machine made in Nymphenburg

From another source:

The Marly Machine (French Machine de Marly) was built by the Dutch architect Rennequin Sualem in the early 1680s at the Marly Palace on the territory of modern Bougival by order of the French king Louis XIV to supply water to the ponds and fountains of Versailles Park.

Unique for its time, the engineering hydraulic system was a complex system of 14 water wheels, each with a diameter of 11.5 m (about 38 feet), and 221 pumps driven by them, which served to raise water from the Seine along the Louvecienne aqueduct 640 m long into a large reservoir to a height of about 160 m above the level of the river and 5 km from it.

Further, the water along the stone aqueduct (8 km distance) entered the Versailles Park. The construction employed 1,800 workers.

It took 85 tons of wooden structures, 17 tons of iron, 850 tons of lead and the same amount of copper. The device provided a supply of about 200 cubic meters of water per hour. The building was completed in 1684, and the opening took place on June 16 in the presence of the king.

60 workers were employed to maintain the device and eliminate frequent breakdowns. In its original form, the Marley machine served 133 years, then for 10 years the water wheels were replaced by steam engines, and in 1968 the pumps were converted to electric power. A source

Special pump profiles of one of the machine equipment applied to the North Dame Bridge.

This is how this bridge looked in the 18th century:

Or did the artist portray the helmsmen on the boats disproportionately large, or did the giants still live in the middle of the 18th century?

And different valves and taps, a picture without a signature:

The pipes were mainly made of copper and lead. Here is a quote from the book:

“Following this theory, it is easy to define geometrically the force with which the water breaks the pipe; but for its application it is necessary to warn about some experience.

We know that a lead pipe 12 "(30.5cm) in diameter and 60 feet (18.3m) must be 6 lines (15mm) thick to withstand the pressure of the water.

The copper pipe, also 12 "in diameter and 60 feet high, must be 2 lines (5mm) thick to maintain the strength of the water it is filled with. From which it follows that copper pipes have a triple strength of lead, with the same product dimensions, which is in good agreement with the experiments quoted by M. Parent."

That's all for now. To be continued

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