A Detailed History
 
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In 1772 John Whitehurst discovered the principles of the RAM and produced a machine to work in a brewery at Oulton, Cheshire, to raise water to upper floors of the building. It was not, however, entirely satisfactory as a small boy had to be employed to open and close a tap. It was in use for over 15 years, though, one hopes, not with the same operator!

Pierre Montgolfier, in 1798, invented the first automatic pulse valve, thus making the RAM a commercial reality. Both he and his brother were prolific inventors but are today remembered best for the 'hot air' balloon.

Montgolfier, although a great inventor, did not possess the skills to actively market the machine or make it of practical use.

This fell to our forebear, Josiah Easton, who was a great engineer at the start of the 19th Century and something of a polymath, being responsible for not only water supplies but construction of the original channel tunnel, draining of the fens, highway engineering and much else besides (see obituary).

In 1820 at Sunninghill, Berkshire, this Josiah Easton purchased the Montgolfier pattern (these original patent documents are still in our archives - click here). They also purchased the business of John Whitehurst. Over the years, Josiah Easton and his son, James installed water schemes for many of the landed estates of the day, and many of those RAMs are still in use today.

(Obituary of Mr. James Easton - Click Here)

The firm of Green & Carter occupied an iron foundry at Kingsworthy, Winchester, and had for many years manufactured and supplied RAMs throughout the world. In 1928 they acquired James Easton's business and have remained to this day exclusively producing the 'Vulcan' RAM, incorporating all the modern features, and yet they can supply parts for all their RAMs produced over the years no matter how old.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the business is the lucky chance that has resulted in the preservation of our unique archives. We have all our records going back to 1774 and from about 1860 onwards we have every letter ever written or received by the company. Such letters include correspondence from many notable personages, too numerous to list in detail but which include significant personages in almost every walk of life (politics, the military, music, the arts, the landed gentry, engineering and technology). We also have extensive libraries of period trade catalogues, some of which are unrelated to the water industry such as bicycles, lawnmowers, stationary engines etc.

We have thousands of estate plans and plans of RAM installations both in the United Kingdom and overseas. This archive is available for perusal by serious students for research purposes. They also provide a valuable reference library for many estate owners, farmers and stately homes who have been able to make use of the records for the repair and incorporation of the original systems into modern water supplies.


The hydraulic RAM was referred to by Ewbank in his classic treaties known as 'Ewbank's Hydraulics' in 1840 as one of the most significant inventions in the history of civilisation.

The RAM has more than stood the test of time. Many over 100 years old are still in use, and it remains one of the few really practical and efficient uses of natural energy today: It is cheap to purchase, will last indefinitely and with no moving metal parts is simplicity itself requiring the minimum of maintenance.

If the two essentials are provided by the landowner - a supply of water (i.e. a spring or stream, as little as 1 gallon per minute will suffice) and the ability to provide a 'fall' for that water - the RAM itself can reduce or even eliminate those costly water bills.

But do not be mislead into thinking that RAMs are a 'museum technology' or that Green & Carter occupies a dusty place in history. We are selling and installing considerably more RAMs than we were 100 years ago and they are the leading edge of water installation technology in these days of high water costs, environmental awareness and the appreciation that traditional methods are often the best.

 

 

Green & Carter Ltd. ©2013 Email: info@greenandcarter.com
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