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history of hydraulic systems

Updated on September 27, 2009
hydraulic systems
hydraulic systems

hydraulic systems

The history of hydraulic systems takes us into the world of technology and construction. This is one of those Innovative methods of making work easier and more efficient by compressing fluids that are locked inside a channel or compartment. This compression is an applied force or torque and supplies leverage to a workload. Thus the work load is lessened or made easier. The power steering in cars is a good example of the use of hydraulic systems. There are countless other hydraulic systems that have come about since the first use of such systems were invented.

Hydrostatic and hydrodynamic are words that represent similar sciences and engineering concepts to hydraulics. They all imply the use of water or another fluid that is at work.

Pascal's Principle

A change in the pressure of an enclosed incompressible fluid is conveyed undiminished to every part of the fluid and to the surfaces of it's container.

Who invented hydraulics ?

In 1785 and Englander named Joseph Bramah was working on a press. William Georges Armstrong ( sir - 1st Baron ) a contemporary of Bramah, was an industrialist and the founder of Armstrong Whitworth. Sir Armstrong is said to have found inspiration in a water wheel for his later engineering work while he was out on a fishing expedition. He noted that while the water wheel was doing much work it was still allowing much potential to be lost. This lost potential, he reasoned, could be harnessed somehow. He first designed a rotary engine from the concept but later moved it to a hydraulic piston type of design that could move a crane.

At a time when the scientific field of hydraulics engineering was not yet recognized Armstrong and Bramah were applying Pascal's laws to their inventions. Joseph Bramah got a patent for his invention of the hydraulic press in 1795.

The history of hydraulics systems is sketchy and the future is in the making.

As above so below.

Some hydraulic systems after Bramah and Armstrong.

While arguments could be made that would place the use of  hydraulic engineering at a much earlier period in history such as a claim that in the 14th century Somali tribes used water forces in agriculture  or that even thousands of years ago seafarers used oars as contraptions or lever to exert force on water, or that in the Greek hellenic period writers were describing machines that made use of leveraged fluids in force pumps. But history has a well marked beginning with Bramah and Sir Armstrong. 

Since 1795 several engineers and inventors have added their contribution to this scientific field of science that deals with the subject of forces exerted on fluids or fluid dynamics. 

The history of hydraulic systems is found in dam design and engineering. It is found in the field of automobile, aviation, bicycles, rail. It is found in military applications and space exploration and in other disciplines where fluid circuitry is used such as turbines, pumps, and hydropower, The history of hydraulic systems is found in the current development of the computer where computational fluid dynamics is a buzz term. 

This history is found wherever hydraulic machinery and hydraulic cylinders are located.

hydraulic press crushing cars
hydraulic press crushing cars

Back to where the modern history of hydraulic systems began.

The hydraulic press.

The press uses two cylinders. Each cylinder is of a different diameter. Each cylinder therefore as a different size piston.

The smaller piston is initialized first and then the fluids are forced through a pipe that connects to the larger cylinder which is activated when the fluid pushes on the larger piston. This makes for an extremely high potential force that is used in pressing objects.

The car crushers are a modern example of the hydraulic press.

Heavy machinery

Construction machines are loaded with cylinders and pumps. It's in the brakes, the steering and elsewhere. some of this heavy machinery is so full of levers that it is almost scary to look at. The grader is one of these. It has more levers that an octopus has tentacles. But each one has a function and the experienced operator knows exactly how to work the levers together to make any job go smoothly.

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      this is kinda cool 4 months ago

      this is kinda cool

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      Rawani 15 months ago

      it helped me a lot while my science exhibition on topic hydraulic

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      mayur rathore 18 months ago

      Thanks lot yar its help to made my project

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      Whyps 19 months ago from Kerala

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      Peter 20 months ago from Poland

      nice ...very nice

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      MICHAEL Olusegun Samuel 23 months ago

      thanks alot for this, it really helps in my report writing

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      Linda Bolden 2 years ago

      Thank you this will help me in building a prototype og my invention.

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      YOLOOOO 3 years ago

      Thanks it helped a lot for my technology project

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      bhavya 3 years ago

      its nice.....

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      chaman james basota 3 years ago

      iam in mechenical field it will help me for design new thing thanks.

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      lala 5 years ago

      I really liked this article a lot. It helped me with my science speech on hydraulics. Thanks :)

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      it wasd stupid

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      ujwal 5 years ago

      thanks a lot, it was very help full

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      omg thanks it helps a lot!

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      bum 6 years ago


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      me 6 years ago

      very good helped do an engineering report thanks

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      DHEERAJ CHAUDHARY 7 years ago


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      yoo, you got tight stuff.

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      Hi 7 years ago

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      8 years ago

      hi fred and cheryl wasss up

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      Cheryl 8 years ago

      Hi Fred. Hola que pasa?

    • profile image

      Fred 8 years ago

      Very helpful. :-p