Me with my pumps at a demonstration    A Hydraulic Water Ram in action.   

     Hydraulic water rams are an inexpensive, creative way to pump water. These semi-efficient, self acting pumps use the force of water running down stream to pump water up an elevation: with six feet of drop, a hydraulic ram pump will lift water 100 feet up a hill.

     In 1775 John Whitehurst created a hydraulic ram that was hand operated, however he never took the idea any farther. Twenty two years later the first "self-acting" hydraulic ram was created in 1791 by Joseph de Montgolfier. Montgolfier attained patents in England and France, and is considered to be the "father" of the Hydraulic Ram.

     The hydraulic water ram was celebrated as an easy, efficient, and cheap way to pump water up a hill without any form electricity or engine. All that was needed was flowing water, pipe, and the pump. Maintenance was extremely simple, and there was almost no cost to keep the hydraulic ram working. Ads were introduced in which a person could purchase the pump, and large amounts of pipe for only a few dollars.

     These pumps are now quite easily found in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California, as well as in New England. They were also used widely in England and France. Some people still use them for personal use in these places, however most are no longer used, and many people are not even aware of what they really are.

     In the last two years I have doubled my collection from 18 to 36 rams, which I show at local fairs in Northern California, including the Boonville fair, and the Willits Roots of Motive Power. I use a barrel elevated six feet above the ground, with a pipe feeding down to the pump to simulate the fall of the water as it comes down stream. I also use several of the pumps in my creek to water my gardens, my lawn, and to help fill my water tank for home usage.

     I am still looking to collect more of these unique pumps, and am willing to make a fair offer on them. I would greatly appreciate any lead on a ram, especially ones from countries other than the United States.

Contact Don Burger
701 S. Dobson Rd. #377
Mesa, AZ 85202
(480) 291-3731

or E-Mail me at


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