2. Water Machines in the Lands of Islam
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2. Water Machines in the Lands of Islam
2.1. The Science and Art of Water Management
The use of water wheel technology was widely spread in the Middle East before Islam. It is from this long lasting heritage that Muslim engineers adopted and improved this technology and applied it everywhere. In the city of Murcia, for example, during the Islamic rule of Spain, a waterwheel was established, still known today under the name La Ñora. Although the original wheel has been replaced by one in steel, the original system applied during the Andalus period is otherwise virtually unchanged. The flywheel mechanism, which is used to smooth out the delivery of power from a driving device to a driven machine, was invented by Ibn Bassal (fl. 1038-1075) who pioneered the use of the flywheel in the chain pump (saqiya) and noria .
The industrial uses of watermills in the Islamic world date back to the 7th century, while horizontal-wheeled and vertical-wheeled water mills were both in widespread use by the 9th century. A variety of industrial watermills were used in the Islamic world, including gristmills, hullers, paper mills, sawmills, shipmills, stamp mills, steel mills, sugar mills, and tide mills. By the 11th century, every province throughout the Islamic world had these industrial watermills in operation, from al-Andalus and North Africa to the Middle East and Central Asia. Muslim engineers also used crankshafts and water turbines, gears in watermills and water-raising machines, and dams as a source of water. They used to provide additional power to watermills and water-raising machines. Industrial water mills were also employed in large factory complexes built in al-Andalus between the 11th and 13th centuries.
Muslim engineers used two solutions to achieve the maximum output from a water mill. The first solution was to mount them to piers of bridges to take advantage of the increased flow. The second solution was the shipmill, a type of water mill powered by water wheels mounted on the sides of ships moored in midstream. This technique was employed along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in 10th-century Iraq, where large shipmills made of teak and iron could produce 10 tons of flour from corn every day for the granary in Baghdad .
Early examples of water raising machines include the Shādūf, the Sāqiya and the Noria [Nā‘ūra], all of which were known in the Muslim world . At an early stage Muslim engineers were exploring new methods for increasing the effectiveness of water raising machines. Al-Jazarī and Taqī al-Dīn both described water-raising machines that show an awareness of the need to develop machines with a greater output than these traditional ones. By the 13th century, what we might call water raising machine technology lifted off with the work of al-Jazarī. In his monumental book Al-Jāmi' bayna ‘l-‘ilm wa-‘l-‘amal nāfi‘ fī sinā‘at al-hiyal, this genius scholar was responsible for the design of five machines for raising water. The most significant is the fifth one, which was a water-driven pump. A water wheel turned a vertical cog wheel which in turn turned a horizontal wheel; the latter caused two opposing copper pistons to oscillate. The cylinders of the pistons were connected to suction and delivery pipes which were guarded by one-way clack valves. The suction pipes drew water from a water sump down below and the delivery pipes discharged the water into the supply system about 12m above the installation. This pump is an early example of the double-acting principle (while one piston sucks the other delivers) and the conversion of rotatory to reciprocating motion .
Taqī al-Dīn describes a slightly modified version of al-Jazarī's fifth machine in his book on machines Al-Turuq al-Saniya.
2.2. Three Water-Raising Machines in Al-Turuq al-Saniya.
2.2.1. The Pump with Two Opposing Cylinders
This pump, already dealt with by Al-Jazarī, is a unique mechanical device that may be considered as a major achievement in the history of mechanical engineering. Historians considered that al-Jazarī's machine was the archetype from which the steam engine was developed .
Because all figures and drawings in the manuscripts of Al-Jazarī's book contained mistakes done by scribes, historians of technology could not reach an agreement on the correct design of the machine. This is why Taqī al-Dīn's description of this pump has a greater historical value, as the figure which he drew himself was accurate and helped remove obscurity that surrounded parts of this machine.
Taqī al-Dīn's descriptin of this machine in his treatise is accompanied by a drawing (fig. 3) that combines both the tools of conic sections and perspective drawing. This is why drawings are difficult to read and understand, and it becomes imperative to read texts carefully to arrive at a correct conception of the model.
Figure 3: Drawing of the reciprocating pump with two opposing cylinders (Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, Arabic MS 5232, p. 32).
2.2.2. The Spiral Pump
The description of the spiral pump in Al-Turuq al-Saniyah is very significant because it was not mentioned in the Arabic books of engineering before Taqī al-Dīn. The use of spiral in mechanical devices is attributed to Archimedes and it was largely used around the Mediterranean. We do not, however, find any description of a spiral pump machine in the available references written before Taqī al-Dīn (fig. 4) .
Taqī al-Dīn's spiral pump is worked by a waterwheel through two cogwheels each fitting into the other. It seems, according to historians of technology, that the earliest description of this kind of machines in the West goes back to Cardan in 1550 and Ramelli in 1588. This means that Taqī al-Dīn was amongst the first to describe this water machine as he finished his manuscript in 1551-52 (959 H). The use of spiral pumps flourished in Europe after this period, especially in drainage projects, before they came into common use in the 17th and 18th centuries and were turned by wind as well .
Figure 4: Drawing of the spiral pump (Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, Arabic MS 5232, p. 34).
2.2.3. The Pump of the Rope with Cloth Balls
No description of this pump was given before Taqī al-Dīn. Moreover, as far as we know Taqī al-Dīn preceded Western engineers in describing it. Agricola mentioned a similar device in De re metallica which (completed in 1553 and published three years later), namely few years after that that our Muslim engineer completed Al-Turuq al-Saniya.
The pump of the rope could get water raised from great depths up to 72 metres (fig. 5). In contrast, pumps with pistons can raise water to small heights only, as they are limited by air pressure. Therefore, the alternative is to use a rope or chain that carries buckets or to use a pump of a robe with cloth balls. The cloth balls move tightly in a vertical tube. These balls are spaced at equal distances and fastened to a rope or chain. When the balls move upwards inside the tube, they behave like a piston in cylinder as it pulls water up .
Figure 5: Drawing of the pump of the rope with cloth balls (Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, Arabic MS 5232, p. 35).
 Ahmad Y. al-Hassan and Donald R. Hill, "Engineering in Arabic-Islamic Civilization"; Ahmad Y Hassan, Flywheel Effect for a Saqiya; La Cultura del agua: La Rueda de La Ñora; Historia de La Ñora.
 D. R. Hill, "Mechanical Engineering in the Medieval Near East", Scientific American, May 1991, pp. 64-69.
 On these devices, see Salim T. S. Al-Hassani and Colin Ong Pang Kiat, Al-Jazarī's Third Water-Raising Device: Analysis of its Mathematical and Mechanical Principles, section III: "Water-Raising Devices: History and Technical Principles".
 See Salim al-Hassani, The Machines of Al-Jazarī and Taqī Al-Dīn; Salim al-Hassani and Mohammed Abattouy, "La pompe hydraulique d'al-Jazarī (début du XIIIe siècle)" [The hydraulic pump of al-Jazarī (beginning of the 13th century], Paris: Editions les Pommier, 2008, forthcoming.; A. Y. Al-Hassan, The Crank-Connecting Rod System in a Continuously Rotating Machine; A. Y. al-Hassan and D. R. Hill, "Engineering in Arabic-Islamic Civilization". For a general survey on water-raising machines in Al-Jazari and Taqi al-Din, see Ahmad Y., and Donald R. Hill Islamic Technology: An Illustrated History. Cambridge etc.: Cambridge University Press/Paris: UNESCO, 1986, pp. 37-52..
 Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China. Cambridge: University Press, 1965, vol. 4, pp. 381-382; Ahmad Y. Al-Hassan, Taqī al-Dīn wa-‘l-handasa al mīkanīkiya al-‘arabiya. Ma‘a kitāb ‘Al-Turuq al-Saniya fī ‘l-ālāt al-rūhāniya' min al-qarn al-sādis ‘ashar [Taqī al-Dīn and Arabic Mechanical Engineering. With the book The Sublim Methods in Pneumatic Machines from the sixteenth century]. Aleppo: Institute for the History of Arabic Science, 1976, p. 38.
 Eilhard Wiedemann und Franz Hauser, "Über Vorrichtungen zum Heben von Wasser in d. Islamischen Welt', ('Beiträge z. Geschichte d. Technik u. Industrie", vol. 8 (1918): pp. 121-154. We find a drawing of the spiral pump in a strange European manuscript attributed to Kyser that dates back to 1405 CE. The pump described by Kyser is turned by hand through a crank on its top. This is similar to the machines used in Egypt towards the end of the last century. Ahmad Y. Al-Hassan, Taqī al-Dīn wa-‘l-handasa al mīkanīkiya al-‘arabiya, op. cit., p. 43.
 Charles Singer et al., A History of Technology. Vol. 3: c 1500-c 1750. New York/London: Oxford University Press, 1957, p. 305.
 William B. Parsons, Engineers and Engineering in the Renaissance, Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1968, p. 190; Aubrey F. Burstall, A History of Mechanical Engineering, Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1965, p. 173; T. K. Derry and T. I. Williams, A Short History of Technology, London: Oxford University Press, 1960, p. 129.
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by: FSTC Limited, Mon 21 July, 2008