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View of the Marly machine, France, 18th century.

View of the Marly machine, France, 18th century.
3 3 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 25cm


Hand-coloured engraving. Louis XIV of France had this machine constructed on the banks of the Seine to pump water from the river to his chateaux at Versailles and Marly. The flow of the river was harnesed to turn 14 paddlewheels which then powered over 200 pumps which forced water up a network of pipes to an aqueduct at Louveciennes. This represented a vertical rise of 500 feet. The Marly machine was engineered by Arnold de Ville and built by Rennequin Sualem and is thought to have been the largest system of integrated machinery ever asembled at the time it was completed in 1684. Its construction had taken 30 years. The machine remained in use until 1817, after which it was rebuilt and modified.

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