ASME-Landmark:Cruquius Pumping Station


Nearly three identical pumping stations drained the Haarlemmermeer (Haarlem Lake) from 1849-1852 and then continued to maintain the polder's water table for more than 80 years. The Haarlemmermeer area covers 45,000 acres (about 70 square miles) in a triangular region between the cities of Amsterdam, Haarlem, and Leiden.

The Cruquius pumping station was instrumental in removing millions of gallons of water to reclaim valuable new land for farming, industry, and residences. The traditional solution would have been windmills with Archmidean screw pumps, but designers Joseph Gibbs and Arthur Dean came up with a steam engine design based on the mining engines at Cornwall, England (known as Cornish engines).

The Cornish pumping engine is a direct descendant of the Thomas Newcomen engine (1715), which was improved by James Watt in 1769. Cornish engineers introduced higher steam pressures and a steam valve, and Cornish engineer James Sims designed a two-stage expansion engine, which is seen in the Cruquius design with further modifications. A vertical steam cylinder was under one end of a beam, with a pump rod suspended from the other. Within a circular, castle-like tower, the eight protruding lift pumps were driven by a single central annular-compound steam engine. The pumps lifted 55,000 gallons a minute 15 feet, descended by their own weight, and rose under steam pressure.

The Cruquius engine was built by Harvey & Co. of Hayle, Cornwall, which was the largest manufacturer of engines in Cornwall. The pumps were furnished by Fox & Co., Falmouth, Cornwall, with the beams and boilers supplied by Van Vlissingen & Dudok van Heel, Amsterdam. The building architect was Jan Anne Beijerinck. See ASME website for more information