The Neglected Hydraulic Ram
One of the simplest, least expensive and most neglected forms of water pumping apparatus is the hydraulic ram. This device was first used over a century ago and then apparently dropped out of sight as far as its use by the water works is concerned. There has arisen an impression that the hydraulic ram is only suitable to provide a water supply for farm houses or isolated residences, as it is a device of small lifting capacity and even lower efficiency. As a matter of fact, with proper engineering principles applied to its operation, the hydraulic ram is, all things being equal, one of the most economical as well as efficient pumping apparatus ever invented. In the first place, it combines the functions of prime mover and pump, as it supplies its own motor power in addition to its water lifting abilities.
Besides its economy of action, the ram has the added advantages of occupying a comparatively small space and of working at so low a head as three feet and yet it will deliver the water to a height out of all proportion to this small amount of fall. In addition to being capable of raising water vertically to 500 feet, it also has the power of delivering it over great horizontal distances as, apart from the friction in the pipe, the only resistance offered is the head against which the pump operates.
Water departments—especially those of the smaller cities and villages—when considering the installations of pumping appliances should investigate the merits of the hydraulic ram before expending large sums in expensive pumping engines, when in all probability this device— so simple and economical both in its first cost and its maintenance—would answer every purpose for their plans. In one instance that has come to the notice of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING, in a small privately-owned, and operated plant supplying a town with water, the gross income averaged 20 per cent, on the entire cost of the system, while the cost of repairs and maintenance was not quite one per cent, per annum. While it has been proved by experience that it is not practicable to build a ram over the twelve-inch size, there is nothing to limit the number of installations that can be added except the volume of water available for driving them.
There are many sections of this country where the hydraulic ram would prove an ideal method of lifting water for water supplies. If any one desires further information or details on the subject of the hydraulic ram. FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING would be glad to furnish them.