Marly's Machine

Rennequin Sualem18th century

Musée des arts et métiers

Musée des arts et métiers
Paris, France

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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