Methods of pumping
Pumps and their Value to Man
"As difficult as for water to run up a hill!" Is there any one who has not heard this saying? And yet most of us accept as a matter of course the stream which gushes from our faucet, or give no thought to the ingenuity which devised a means of forcing water upward through pipes. Despite the fact that water flows naturally down hill, and not up, we find it available in our homes and office buildings, in some of which it ascends to the fiftieth floor; and we see great streams of it directed upon the tops of burning buildings by firemen in the streets below.
In the country, where there are no great central pumping stations, water for the daily need must be raised from wells, and the supply of each household is dependent upon the labor and foresight of its members. The water may be brought to the surface either by laboriously raising it, bucket by bucket, or by the less arduous method of pumping. These are the only means possible; even the windmill does not eliminate the necessity for the pump, but merely replaces the energy used by man in working it.
In some parts of our country we have oil beds or wells. But if this underground oil is to be of service to man, it must be brought to the surface, and this is accomplished, as in the case of water, by the use of pumps.
An old tin can or a sponge may serve to bale out water from a leaking rowboat, but such a crude device would be absurd if employed on our huge vessels of war and commerce. Here a rent in the ship's side would mean inevitable loss were it not possible to rid the ship of the inflowing water by the action of strong pumps.
Another and very different use to which pumps are put is seen in the compression of gases. Air is forced into the tires of bicycles and automobiles until they become sufficiently inflated to insure comfort in riding. Some present-day systems of artificial refrigeration could not exist without the aid of compressed gases.
Compressed air has played a very important role in mining, being sent into poorly ventilated mines to improve the condition of the air, and to supply to the miners the oxygen necessary for respiration. Divers and men who work under water carry on their backs a tank of compressed air, and take from it, at will, the amount required.
There are many forms of pumps, and they serve widely different purposes, being essential to the operation of many industrial undertakings. In the following Sections some of these forms will be studied.
FIG. - Carrying water home from the spring.