Hydraulic parts are not just a recent invention. They have a long history that spans centuries of theories, inventions and practical applications. Once perfected through modern technology, hydraulic parts in Minnesota and elsewhere became essential for many industries and revolutionized agriculture. This overview will teach you all about the illustrious background of the hydraulic technology you rely on in your shop each day.
From ancient roots to Pascal’s Law
The power of water has been noticed since the beginning of civilization. The Egyptians harnessed hydraulic power for many applications, including irrigation. There were not many attempts to understand the process as much as use it for the essentials of survival.
The nature of pressure and flow patterns was of more curiosity to the Greeks, from which they developed the piston pump, the water clock and the Archimedes screw pump. Romans were more interested in construction applications for hydraulic power. Hydraulic mills produced flour, sawed stone and split timber.
There was some curiosity about how this worked, but it was not really explored in detail until the 17th century. In 1648, Blaise Pascal discovered that “pressure exerted anywhere in a confined incompressible fluid is transmitted equally in all directions throughout the fluid such that the pressure variations (initial differences) remain the same.”
Known as Pascal’s Law, the theory set the groundwork for how fluid could be used to produce energy. In 1738, Daniel Bernoulli expanded on Pascal’s Law by describing how fluid responds to conditions of flow and height, leading to the development of high-pressured water pipes and steam power. The focus turned more towards producing electricity, but the hydraulic press soon arose from this early theoretical study. However, practical uses remained limited until the Industrial Revolution.
The Industrial Revolution
At the time of the Industrial Revolution, the most important hydraulic development was the press. This was significant and effective enough that the design did not change for 150 years. Later, the interest steered closer to the idea of hydraulics for heavy machinery. With production becoming a priority, hydraulics was once again entering into the practical realm more frequently. Study was not as important as making the theories work for something.
One development that revolutionized industry was cylinder and piston systems. These made it possible to develop manufacturing and farm machinery that offered improved reliability and production. The early systems became the basis for the engine development Harry Ferguson and Henry Ford would later adapt to the Fordson Tractor, a significant addition in agricultural technology. Some of this knowledge would also transfer to developing automobiles.
Hydraulic power today has many mechanical applications. Diggers, bulldozers, cranes and other heavy equipment rely heavily on hydraulics to maintain their functions. Theories continue to develop in order to increase the efficiency of machinery, and hydraulics remains prominent in those developments. With time now for both theory and application, it is likely more technological advances are yet to come.
M & M Hydraulic Company offers service and maintenance on hydraulic parts in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin. Call us to arrange for an onsite visit to help your machinery run its best.