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The Interesting History of Hydraulics

Hydraulics is an applied science and technology that uses chemistry, engineering, and other sciences that involve the use of liquids and mechanical properties. At a basic level, hydraulics is the liquid counterpart of pneumatics which refers to gases. The theoretical foundation for hydraulics is provided by fluid mechanics. It focuses on the applied engineering using the properties of fluids.

The brakes in your car, work on hydraulics. Various parts of science and engineering modules cover the concepts of dam design, pipeline flow, fluid control circuits, fluidics, etc.

The Interesting History of Hydraulics

The principles of hydraulics are used naturally in the human body within the erectile tissue and vascular system.

Ancient and Medieval Eras

The earliest uses of hydropower date back to Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. It was the time where the irrigations were used since the 6th millennium BC and water clocks have been in use since the early 2nd millennium BC. The other early examples of hydraulics include the Qanat system that is an example of free-surface flow. It was used in ancient Persia and the Turpan hydraulic system in ancient Central Asia.

Who Invented Hydraulics

Finally, the application of hydraulics has founded its usage and place in the modern world.

Magic of Fluid Power

  • 100’s: Hero of Alexandria used hydraulics to create the first steam engine of the world known as Aeolipile.
  • 300’s: Persians completed the construction of the Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System.
  • 900’s: A hydraulic powered flute player was created and it was the first music sequencer using the applications of hydraulics.
  • 1206: Al-Jazari invented the first hydraulic powered programmable robot.
  • 1648: Blaise Pascal, a French physicist, realized that the pressure on a confined fluid exerts an equal force in all directions and that these forces can be harnessed.
  • 1738: A 100 years later, Daniel Bernoulli puts into practice Pascal’s discovery of the energy of fluids. He did it by pressurizing the water in pumps and mills. He paved the way for the industrial revolution. Hydraulic presses hardness the power of fluids. It automated all types of manufacturing equipment from printing presses and cranes used for stamping and cutting the machines.

Hydraulic applications


Rapid and accurate response of hydraulics is an advantage in different industries. Primary metal mining, steel making, and plastic processing machine applicated automate the production lines. Other examples of applications of hydraulics in the industry are machine tool industry, crushers, presses, paper industries, loaders, textile industry machine, loaders, etc.

Mobile Hydraulics

On the other hand, irrigation systems, tractors, tunnel drilling equipment, handling equipment, railway equipment, etc. are examples of mobile hydraulics.


Hydraulics finds interesting applications in the automotive industry. The most important work in this industry is based on the principles of hydraulics. For example, windshields, shock absorbers, power steering, brakes, etc. are the common applications of hydraulics in the automotive industry.

Marine Applications

Hydraulics play an important role in maintaining the control and stability of the ships. Stern thrusters, bow, steering gear, and engine room maintenance systems include pumps and jacks, etc. all work on the principle of hydraulics.

Aerospace Applications

Spacecrafts, rockets, airplanes, etc. are examples of hydraulics applications in the aerospace industry.

Modern Hydraulic Cylinders

It is because the oil is not corrosive and lubricates the press components of hydraulics. The oil is also denser and can withstand the higher loads without evaporating. Also, it can remain cool under the high pressure of hydraulic forces.

As the use of hydraulic power has evolved, the use of the hydraulic press has also evolved. Each technological development comes with new materials, mounting configurations, applications, and designs. The breakthroughs of the past 75 years have brought the power of hydraulics to every imaginable industry.

The hydraulic system is capable of delivering up to 10 times the power of an electric motor. Hence, it makes it ideal for heavy pulling, pushing, and lifting applications. The precise control makes it safer to work near hydraulic equipment.


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