The History of Valves and, how they work

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Valves are an interesting piece of equipment when you come to think of it, they can potentially be a life saver or cause lots of damage. If you work in an industry that requires substances to either flow more freely, less freely or not at all then you will be very familiar with various types of valves, if you do not work in an industry that requires valves then the chances are you’ve only ever used one in an emergency. to shed a little light on the subject of valves and their importance here is a little bit of history for you;

How it all began

There has been a need to control the flow of water since man began to build towns and cultivate crops for farming. Men and women used branches, tree trunks, and stones to control the flow of water even before the first genuine pipe systems (the aqueducts were invented). The next evolution of the valve and pipe systems were thanks to The Romans who created vast water canals which included valves. The valves they invented look more like the valves we are used to seeing and they had flow regulating features, similar to the oil stop valves, or water cut off valves for bathrooms and kitchens used today.

All walks of life

During the reign of The Roman Empire, valves were also fitted in the residences of the middle and higher classes if the need arose. Bath water might be controlled using an exceedingly primitive variant of the diaphragm valve so, not only could the Romans control the flow of water into the tub, but they could also control the mixture of hot and cold water. There is also evidence that there were earlier versions of check or backflow valves. This would prevent effluent from contaminating the town’s pure water supplies which fall in line with records that suggest the original form of the butterfly valve is thought to have been invented about the same time.

Leaps and bounds

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Valve and water control technology did not improve much during the reign of the Roman empire, but the Renaissance would transform everything, bringing with them new technologies and systems. During this age of rapid expansion and change, canals, irrigation systems, and hydraulics all evolved significantly. A number of new designs and enhancements to existing standards were credited to the one and only Leonardo DaVinci. There were many beautiful examples of Renaissance-era valves included in his designs, some of which are available to see at museums across the world.

Progressive evolution 

The next major alteration to the valve was the industrial revolution, which heralded the modernity of this deceptively basic mechanism. When Thomas Newcomen designed his steam engine, he needed new, improved valves to keep the steam flowing even at high pressures. Valves for irrigation and piping would benefit greatly from the principles acquired from steam engineering.

Supply and demand

Valves eventually started to become mass-produced in large quantities. The capacity to manufacture them on a production line would allow more towns, farmers, and individuals to benefit from the various valves available. Valves, which are utilized in engines and other parts of the car, have become an important component of the automotive sector.

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