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French Elm Tree Pump Question...

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The French frigates, and I'm not sure about other French ships, used a variation of the elm tree pump that the English used.  It involved an hourglass shape at the top of the pump shaft to which weights were secured.  This hourglass was then tied off and ran up to a lever on a post or mast.  See video for the L'Hermione replica's pump in action.


My question is simple yet... I'm not sure of the answer.  Would the pump shaft have been metal or wood?  What about the hourglass shape?  It appears to  have been wood.



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Hi Mark,


Boudriot gives quite a lot of detail about the pumps in his Seventy-four Gun ship book Volume two, too much for me to copy here.


However, the shaft you can see on the video is called the spear and it is made of Fir; attached to the spear are the chocks (hourglass) to which the brake handle is attached via a rope hooked to a grommet secured around the chocks.


If you need more detailed info send me a pm and I will try and expand on the Boudriot narrative.






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Thanks B.E.  I saw two pages on the web and they were different.  One was modeled in metal, the other in wood.  I don't have Boudriot's books on the 74...my bad. :blush:   I'll be making them from wood then since this breaks the tie. ;)   Seems this is one area that most of the reference works I've seen overlook on the French ships.

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Mark, i think, the pump shaft is made from wood. The hourglass shape is used for fix a rope, going through a gat to upper deck, here fixed on beams for some hands to pump water.

If you pull on he beam, you will pump water, if you let the beam go, the balls (iron) will punch he shaft into the pump. (Oh god, my terrible english...)


I will show you a picture from a frigat ater CHAPMAN plans (XXXI and XXXII of the fabulous Architectura Navalis Mercatoria) a IMM Hamburg.

You will see the principe. Two seamen pumping and you see the gat in deck for the pump-shaft.


Also you can see those pumps here


Best regards!


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