The Romans produced suction force pumps in all types for all sea and land necessities. One of the archeological discoveries which most contributed to our knowledge of Roman metallurgy was the recovery of the two ships of Lake Nemi.
In the early 1930´s, a vast project was undertaken by the Italian Government to dry this small lake and permit the restoration of the ships, which had been observed on the bottom more than 100 years before. These ships contained lead pipe (in the ship plumbing system), valves, pieces of equipment including a rotating table on ball bearings, and several metallic objects made from various alloys of iron, copper, and bronze, which vary according to their intended use.
The lead pipe conforms to the dimensions and norms set down in Frontinus´ text, where he theorized and codified for humanity the “Roman Standards” for the Nemi ships have done more to date the ships than the masonry trademarks, of which many excellent examples were found.
But the precise dating of the Nemi ships based on the name Caligula (37 to 41 A.D.) hase been established by the four fstulae found, three inside the first ship and the fourth nearby, with their seal G.
CAESARIS AVG GERMANIC all stamped with the same die (evidenced by the imperfect impression of the “C” on the various pieces of pipe. An extraordinary piece of lead pipe was also unearthed; it conforms with the norms of materials and dimensions (lead plate of 6 mm diameter) and is exceptional for the uses which it served. It could withstand a pressure of about 40 atmospheres of water and the external surface was clewed so that it could be submerged and could attach itself. Perhaps it was the terminal section of the pressurized pipeline that carried to the ships´ tanks.
The valve found on board is according to the standards, a “vicenaria” in perfect working condition. The material, the turning and processing of the body parts, the mode of assembly, all reflect the standards which regulated production throughout the ancient world.
The rotating platform found on the Nemi ship establishes that the Romans were acquainted with and used ball-bearings.
Bronze bearings fixed in place by pins were positioned around the circumference of the platform at regular intervals to permit the rotary movement of the load.
Analyses of the various metals used indicate that the Romans had a vast knowledge of metallurgy. Above all, they knew something that civilized peoples have always known and which uncivilized peoples, like those of today, do not realize; it is the economic factor which must be abased and made to serve the necessities of life and not life that must be abased and made to serve vulgar economic motives.
In Roman times, materials were quite costly and manpower was cheep, but the materials used by the Romens were the most costly available and have overcome and conquered 2000 years of corrosion; the pieces taken from the excavations are clean, shiny, and perfect both in the porosity of the castings of the external surfaces and in the smooth internal surfaces, turned and polished.
Copper, lead and tin were very important materials in the Roman metallurgical industry. They provided resistance to corrosion and friction and the ductility required for easy processing.
Even in iron nails, a certain percentage of copper provided resistance to rust, and copper, in combination with lead and tin, was used in an almost infinite variety of alloys, which are still in use and codified in international texts.
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Det er helt utroligt at man for snart 2000 år siden kunne lave ventiler, kuglelejer, rør og meget andet som kunne modstå den forholdsvis kraftige corrosive påvirkning fra hav- og søvand. I Danmark var vi ikke kommet længere end til at grave grøfter og kanaler. Vandet hev vi op fra brøndgrave vha. ”spande” lavet af huder eller lignende. Vi må have været meget langt bagud ift. Romerne?