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Fountains before electric pumps

  1. Jul 17, 2006 #1
    Paris has many large and impressive fountains, as do many large cities sited on mostly flat topography, and I would like to know how these fountains operated so impressively before the advent of electric pumps? I understand gravity pressure concepts such the one used in the Hearst Castle water system, but how did early Paris and other cities provide enough pressure for their magnificant fountains when a higher elevation source for gravity pressure was nowhere near the city? Did they actually have very distant, higher elevation water sources and an extensive aqueduct system providing enough fall for the necessary pressure?

    Thanks for informed answers only, please, not guesses.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 17, 2006 #2


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    Welcome to PF, Bobbobwhite. I don't have a lot of time for research right now, but here's a starter for you.
    "http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/label_France/52/gb/16.html" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017 at 11:37 AM
  4. Jul 17, 2006 #3


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    Artesian wells can also be used to make fountains before pumps. Basically, if you drill into an aquifer directly below you, you get a reguar well, If you drill through into a pressurized aquifer, you get an artesian well.

  5. Jul 18, 2006 #4


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    Okay... I've had time to dig around a bit more. Here are a few of the other links that I found. Some are pretty shallow, most are quite good, and one absolutely made my head spin.



    http://www.plumbingengineer.com/pdf/pe/articles/0301PE45.PDF [Broken]


    http://www2.brgm.fr/aih/fichier/actes/journeededarcy_a.pdf [Broken]


    http://www.bondy.ird.fr/pleins_textes/pleins_textes_6/b_fdi_49-50/010017738.pdf [Broken]

    http://www.cyprus.gov.cy/moa/wdd/WD...2256E5B005539BA/$file/Page 1-24 (1,96 MB).pdf

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017 at 11:38 AM
  6. Jul 20, 2006 #5
    Thanks for all the imput. I will hazard an answer myself from the material sent by DANGER. I am 99% sure that it's the adequate slope of the long aqueducts that provides ample water pressure for all those Parisian fountains, along with decreasing the diameter/size of the supply pipe over areas with no slope and decreasing it once again as the water gets closer to the fountains. Any comments?
  7. Jul 20, 2006 #6


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    Sounds good to me. Why don't you get yourself some boards and pipes and whatnot and build a few simple models to see what happens?
  8. Jul 21, 2006 #7

    I really don't think any test I could do would help, as I don't think I could control the many variables well enough to make the test valid. Variables such as slope, friction( a small test pipe that I would have to use would have much greater friction than would the large conduits actually used in the aquaducts for the water volume carried.), materials, curves and curve radius, elevation variances, distance, number of supplied outlets, etc. Just way too many. I think I know the answer to my question, but I still would like confirmation. Thanks for your continued efforts and if you find the precise answer, I would appreciate the info.

  9. Jul 21, 2006 #8


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    While I understand your reluctance to tackle all of the variables, I don't think that you realize how forgiving such systems are. Since many ancient cultures (Romans, various arabs, Turks, etc.) independently developed them in varying geological conditions with varying materials, the basic principles cover a pretty wide spectrum.
    Anyhow, I wasn't suggesting that you build a scale model of Paris in your back yard (although that would nicely weird out your neighbours :devil: ). Something that would fit on a tabletop, using stuff like 1/2" channel aluminum would be sufficient to give you a 'feel' for it.
    As e-mailed, I'll try to investigate more when time allows.
  10. Nov 7, 2006 #9
    The Romans did it with aqueducts and sumps. darn fine engineers those people were since some of the fountains are STILL running! Gotta love the History channel!!
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