Machine de Marly

Entertainment & Arts

Europe, France, Yvelines

The Machine de Marly, also widely known as La Machine de Marly and The Machine of Marly, was a French engineering marvel (though Arnold de Ville and Rennequin Sualem would be Belgians, by current geography) completed in 1684. King Louis XIV needed a large water supply for his fountains at Versailles. The amount of water needed per day for these fountains was not much less than the amount of water used per day in the city of Paris. The Machine de Marly, based on a prototype at Modave Castle, consisted of fourteen gigantic water wheels, each roughly 11.5 meters or 38 feet in diameter, that moved 221 pumps to bring water 177 yards (162 m) up a hillside from the Seine River to the Louveciennes Aqueduct. King Louis XIV had countless schemes and inventions that were supposed to bring water to his fountains. The Machine de Marly was, by far, his most extensive and costly plan. After three years of construction and a cost of approximately 4,000,000 livres, the massive contraption was completed. The chief engineer for the project was Arnold de Ville and the "contractor" was Rennequin Sualem (after whom the quai by the machine is now named). , the symbol of the Liège' s success in the hydraulics because of the coalmines. However, the machine suffered from frequent breakdowns, required a permanent staff of sixty to maintain and often required costly repairs. Since the Machine de Marly constantly failed to operate properly, work began on an aqueduct to carry water to two reservoirs near Versailles not long after the machine's completion. Despite its name, the Machine de Marly was located on the territory of the commune of Bougival.