Downton pump

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Downton pump operated by sailors

The Downton pump is type of positive displacement pump patented in 1825 by Jonathan Downton, a British shipwright.[1] It was typically used on ships.[2]

The design of the Downton pump sought to create a more constant flow of pumped liquid, and a steadier load-state on the pump, by increasing the number of buckets operating in the pump. These buckets were actuated by means of a rotating crankshaft and connecting rods, which caused the buckets to reciprocate up and down, with each feeding the next with liquid.[3] Hebert (1836) contains a description and cut-away illustration of an early Downton pump.[4]

Power source[edit]

The power source for the pump could be either mechanical or human, with human-powered Downton pumps being operated by means of a capstan.


  1. ^ Knight, John (1827). Mechanics Magazine. London. p. 316. Mr. Jonathan Downton, shipwright, of Blackwall, has taken out a patent for a new pump
  2. ^ Catalogue of the Mechanical Engineering Collection in the Science Division of the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, Various Authors. ISBN 1-4067-8053-7, ISBN 978-1-4067-8053-6
  3. ^ Description and photographs of the Downton pump
  4. ^ Hebert, Luke (1836). The Engineer's and Mechanic's Encyclopædia, v.2. London: Thomas Kelly. p. 357.