When Louis XIV moved to Versailles, there was not enough water there to supply the palace and its gardens according to his wishes. In 1678 a carpenter from Liege, Rennequin Sualem, proposed pumping water from the Seine up the Louveciennes Hill to an aqueduct, a 165-metre rise. A huge machine with 14 wheels, each 12 metres in diameter, drove 250 pumps on three storeys to achieve this amazing feat. A crankshaft-rod* system transformed the wheels' circular motion into back-and-forth movement, which was transmitted by two rows of iron rods attached to beams driving the pumps on each storey. The machine, which was extremely expensive to maintain and had a very low yield, was stopped in 1817 and replaced by a set of pumps, the last of which was destroyed in 1968. The model on display is a cross-section of the mechanism of one of the wheels up to the highest pumps. It probably entered the collections in 1811.


  • Title: Marly's Machine
  • Creator: Rennequin Sualem
  • Date: 18th century
  • Date Created: 18th century
  • Location: France
  • Physical Dimensions: Scale Model 1/25
  • Provenance: Musée des arts et métiers
  • Type: Alliage ferreux, bois
  • Contributor: Author : Sandra Delaunay
  • Inventory number: Inv. 00173
  • Credits: © Musée des arts et métiers-Cnam/photo Jean Claude Wetzel

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