Medieval water systems and water pipes

History and Historical European Martial Arts in the Codex Martialis

Medieval water systems and water pipes

Postby Galloglaich » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:38 pm

Medieval towns often had water-systems made up of 'wooden pipes", which I always wondered about what that actually looks like. Turns out there are a couple of ways that was done, and it was done here in the US well into the 20th Century. Posting some photos here:

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This is a square one from Tokyo

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Some were hollowed-out wooden logs, reinforced by bronze or iron bindings

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Some were made in sort of a hoop and stave type

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This is how logs were hollowed out into pipes

poor mans version

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Mechanized version
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Re: Medieval water systems and water pipes

Postby Galloglaich » Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:07 pm

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Re: Medieval water systems and water pipes

Postby Galloglaich » Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:21 pm

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Re: Medieval water systems and water pipes

Postby Galloglaich » Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:55 pm

Largest of the two municipal water fountains built by the Neapolitan architect Onofrio della Cava in Dubrovnik, Croatia in 1438. Brings in water from 12 miles away, via water flowing from 16 stone maskerons

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This is the smaller fountain
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Re: Medieval water systems and water pipes

Postby Galloglaich » Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:06 pm

I should note, the kind of warped looking wooden pipes you see above are very old medieval or Early Modern ones which were buried underground for centuries, which is how they got torqued. They didn't start out like that.

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Re: Medieval water systems and water pipes

Postby Arkon » Sat Mar 14, 2015 6:49 pm

Interesting.
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Re: Medieval water systems and water pipes

Postby Galloglaich » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:48 pm

Almost every late medieval city East of the Rhine and West of Russia had a pretty sophisticated municipal water system by around the 14th Century. If I have some time later I'll post Professor Tlusty's description of the large water towers in 15th Century Augsburg which used water wheel power to elevate water into high towers so as to provide water pressure for the town. The one I was most surprised to learn of was Dublin which seems to have had a good system in the 14th Century. Major exceptions were London and Paris, both of which had water systems at one point but the towns quickly outgrew them to the extent that they were irrelevant by the late medieval period.

But Gdansk, Wroclaw, Krakow, Nuremberg, Prague, Ulm, Lubeck, Hamburg, Strasbourg and Augsburg had them, as did most of the Italian city states and the Flemish towns like Ghent and Bruges.

These were primarily for fighting fires and secondarily for sanitation / convenience. Fires were a huge problem in medieval towns.

For some reason this seems to be almost completely hidden from the common understanding (and not very easy to find with a google search) but it seems to be taken for granted by academic specialists of the era.

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Re: Medieval water systems and water pipes

Postby Galloglaich » Fri Sep 30, 2016 4:50 pm

So I'm planning a Central European trip next year, and I was thinking about visiting some of the Lusatian towns. I noticed that Bautzen has a water tower which was part of their old water system built in the 16th Century (on the site of the earlier 15th Century tower)

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I'm delighted by this because I can put it in my Baltic book and help explain the water systems a bit better. I had read about towers like this in Augsburg (Ann Tulsty mentioned it) but could never find a picture of them.

Looking into that a bit, I stumbled onto a marvelous German Wikipedia page. I love German Wikipedia. Hit the motherload for this subject

Brewers and municipal water towers for Lubeck (date and origin of this image is unknown but I'd say 15th or 16th Century)

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Wooden water pipes
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Water tower from Leipzig showing how the whole thing worked - fantastic!!!

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https://translate.google.com/translate? ... rev=search

https://translate.google.com/translate? ... rev=search
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