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I can imagine a steam engine driving multiple regular old vacuum pumps, which each raise water ~10m. I would think that someone would combine the multiple pumps into a single piece of machinery for raising water >10m without high pressure.

Was such a thing in use before the Newcomen steam engine (driven by horses or something)? How was it designed? Was the same pumping system used with the Newcomen steam engine?

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    $\begingroup$ what do you think causes the 10m limit? And then, how would you put all the pumps in one device? $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Apr 29 '18 at 19:51
  • $\begingroup$ Mike, the tallest column of water you can lift by vacuum is 10 m. (Same principle as the mercury barometer which maxes at 750 mm.) $\endgroup$ – Transistor Apr 29 '18 at 21:00
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    $\begingroup$ @transistor why do you think I asked???? I was hoping the OP would be able to expand their knowledge by a bit of research... Just to help you though the theoretical limit is 10.34m (assuming perfect conditions like perfect vacuum etc) but a "real" limit is closer to 8 or 9 m due to losses, imperfect seals etc. $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Apr 29 '18 at 21:34
  • $\begingroup$ I'm aware of what causes the limit, and I'm wondering if & how they actually implemented it in one device. $\endgroup$ – keith Apr 29 '18 at 21:54
  • $\begingroup$ It's rare (if ever) that someone would chain vacuum pumps. It's far easier to place a pump at the bottom (or near the bottom) of the setup and just push water as high as you like. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Apr 30 '18 at 17:52
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pumps called mechanical lift pumps existed before then. these had the piston/cylinder and check valve assembly deep in the hole. actuating the piston with a long rod lifted one cylinder's worth of water upwards in the well pipe after which a check valve closed and held the water in place. pushing the piston down opened another valve and refilled the cylinder, etc. such a pump can lift water higher than a vacuum pump can but it requires a long actuating rod to connect the handle with the piston.

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  • $\begingroup$ Please punctuate and capitalise properly if you wish to be taken seriously. $\endgroup$ – Transistor Apr 30 '18 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ @transistor, when my typing is no longer impaired by a broken wrist, i will consider your request. in the meantime i will leave elegance to tailors and focus on being correct. -niels $\endgroup$ – niels nielsen Apr 30 '18 at 22:05
  • $\begingroup$ Good man. I hope you can get back on the bass soon. $\endgroup$ – Transistor Apr 30 '18 at 22:13
  • $\begingroup$ god I hope so, this would represent the first time in 48 years that the bass is off-limits. getting x-rays soon. $\endgroup$ – niels nielsen Apr 30 '18 at 22:57
  • $\begingroup$ I helped a friend replace the leather valve flaps in his well. The connecting rod links were hardwood, 3/4" square with a ferrule and hook. Each rod was about 10 feet. He was pumping water from about 140 feet. $\endgroup$ – Sherwood Botsford May 3 '18 at 4:15

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