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The Barn Pump


One of the conveniences of the early 1900s was this hand-pump or water-lift.  The rusty, galvanized, metal contraption in the center of this picture is a water-lift.  It is mounted on the cover slab of a cistern and is used for lifting the water from the Cistern to the ground level where it is used for watering animals.  Not a pump, this device consists of a long continuous (circular) chain on which are mounted small buckets.  The chain with its buckets extend into the water.  The handle that can be seen protruding up and to the left from the rounded top of the lift is connected to a gear inside the lift.  The handle is turned in a circular motion to cause the chain to move.  As the buckets rotate over the top of the gear, the water that they carry is poured into the spout of the lift.


This kind of pump was not limited to barn use or cisterns.  They were frequently found on dug-wells where they provided a mechanism for accessing household drinking water.


Photo taken 1974


Provided by Dorothy Bayes


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