The engineering feats of the Egyptians are well-known, with some of the best minds of today still speculating how the pyramids were built with the relatively limited technology at their disposal.
These huge structures, many of which were built nearly 5,000 years ago, remain as some of the world’s largest and most awe-inspiring monuments.
For the most part, these pyramids served little function other than being fairly obnoxious tributes to the great Pharaohs.
The building of pyramids died out around 1,700 BC and the tradition only continues sparingly in the guise of gaudy tourist traps
. However, another of the great feats of the ancient Egyptians is still utilised and appreciated today.
The Shadoof is a hand-operated pump, used to draw water from one level to another.
Historians suggest that the first Shadoofs were invented and utilised in roughly 2,000BC making them nearly two millenia older than Archimedean Screw Pump
Shadoofs are still widely used today, most prominently in India and parts of Africa, including their birthplace, Egypt. The pumps are also extensively used in the Great Hungarian Plain, where they have become a symbol of the area.
The Shadoof consists of an upright frame upon which a long pole is suspended at about one-fifth of its length from one end. From the long end of the pole hangs a bucket or basket and from the short end hangs a weight (traditionally clay or stone) which acts as the counterpoise of a lever. When the Shadoof is balanced correctly, the same amount of effort is required to drop an empty bucket as lifting a full bucket.
This design makes it almost effortless to quickly and efficiently move water from one body of water to another.
The water is then traditionally emptied out into runnels conveying the liquid along pre-planned irrigation ditches.
In India, Shadoofs are sometimes mounted on top of one another to lift water to higher levels that cannot be reached by a single Shadoof.
This structure is known as a Denkli, or Paecottah.
So whilst the pyramids only purposes today are to draw tourists to Egypt and pose as the model for a million tourist stall knock-offs; the Shadoof remains as perhaps the Ancient Egyptians’ most significant contribution to engineering and technological development.
Complete Pump Supplies
’ range of pumps owe more than a little gratitude to the engineering brilliance of the Ancient Egyptians.