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The pump that al-Jazari copied from Ctesibius was similar to the traditional pump used on many farms insuring the early 1900s. However, the o-ring did not maintain a good vacuum, so the pump needed to be placed in or near the water..Water could be pushed many meters up from the pump. The pump could be powered by animals or by a crankshaft connected to a waterwheel..
Al-Jazari also built other less-sophisticated devices to lift water.
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modern pump similar to the ancient pumps
PISTON SUCTION PUMP
The Muslim claim is false that Al-Farabi (872 – 950) was the first person to investigate the use of a plunger or piston to create the suction of a partial vacuum. The Romans built suction pumps, including one buried at Pompeii in the year 79.
Ctesibius of Alexandria in around the year 270 built complex water pumps that used a partial vacuum to suck water up into the pump and then pushed the water great heights. http://books.google.com/books?id=dXGF22w-jkUC&pg=PA82&lpg=PA82&dq=ctesibius+piston+pump&source=bl
According to page 82 of “Reciprocating Machinery Dynamics“ by Abdulla S. Rangwal
“Ctesibius’s pump consisted of a waterwheel driving a camshaft, which through levers caused a pair of pistons to alternately reciprocate“. http://books.google.com/books?id=dXGF22w-jkUC&pg=PA82&lpg=PA82&dq=ctesibius+piston+pump&source=bl&ots=UYhALXTnyb&sig=CLaBwpMyHEK0fgzchRsJG_5vLd0&hl=en&sa=X&ei=XAQzU4zIHevOyAG7iIGADA&ved=0CEAQ6AEwCw
Figure 2.36 on page 83 shows the design by Ctesibius with a waterwheel driving a camshaft connecting a rod to each of 2 vertically mounted rods and pistons (this was more similar to modern designs than the later al-Jazari model which used one horizontally mounted piston that had a valve at each end). Both the Ctesibius model shown in Figure 2.36 and the later al-Jazari model used suction on the upstroke to suck water into the pump and used pressure on the down stroke to push (not suck) the water up the pipe. Neither design created a strong vacuum, so the pump needed to be located in or not much above the level of the water.
This suction pump design which al-Jazari copied from Ctesibius was similar to the modern hand pump. The O-ring used by both Ctesibius (around the year 270) and al-Jazari (around the year 1200) did not maintain a good vacuum, so the cylinder needed to be located in or near the water, and the water outlet was placed many feet above the cylinder. Both of them designed pumps that sucked the water a very short distance into the cylinder, and on the return stroke would push the water many feet above the cylinder. Oxen, or sometimes a water wheel, was connected by means of a crankshaft to power the pump.
PRIMITIVE SEESAW PUMP
Al-Jazari built a seesaw water-
raising device with a scoop at each end. A gear-driven Roman crank raised and lowered the seesaw.
Al-Jazari’s primitive and inefficient seesaw water-raising device had a scoop at each end. A gear-driven crank handle raised and lowered the seesaw.
Al-Jazari’s saqiya chain pump in 1206 used a waterwheel to power an endless chain pump with pots attached. Waterwheels existed in pre-Islamic times. The ancient Romans had used similar pumps. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chain_pump
or see video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvgl3RFi1Fzw
Modern bicycles use chains similar to those used in ancient Roman chain pumps that were copied by Muslims.
The 1001 Inventions book makes the dubious claim that Muslim use of chain pumps led to the invention of the bicycle.
Image by Manco Capac, via Wikimedia Commons.
image credit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hand_pump-en.svg