Antique Fountains? How?


Is there anyone that can answer as to How Victorian era, private/home owned water fountains worked? I am exhausted from the number of searches that I have done .. all to no avail!
Sure, I have learned about the Roman aqueducts and the flow of water from hillsides 'but', assuming that not Every Victorian home lived hillside and 'We Know' that the electric pump wasn't in use at that time .. How did these fountains work?
Maybe they were Force Flowed in someway but, that would not explain How the return was made! Example: from spout to bowl, back to reservoir and then to spout again?
There is probably a simple explanation but if there is .. I have overlooked it!
I know that this is a strange question but I have reason to ask.
I am not able to take photos of a Large, three section, all copper fountain that I just purchased from a renowned antique store .. until Saturday.
The pictures need to be shot in daylight and I wont have any free time until this weekend.
If anyone is interested in pictures, I will be happy to post them at that time.
I can tell you that the copper sections are very old, very dark and Very heavy. (as well as having some green areas. lol)
There are also a couple of figural pieces attached to this fountain and I Swear that they are brass but are almost Black with the years of accumulated patina.
I used a dremmel and paste cleaner, in a Real Small, out of sight area to verify this. It took Almost fifteen minutes just to lighten a spot the size of a pencil eraser!
Any clues would be So Greatly appreciated.
Mc
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...

Are you sure there *was* a return? Before the era of water meters, many fountains simply took an acceptably small flow of water from the supply and fed it into a pond that percolated naturally into the ground.

Quite possible that you removed a finish applied at the foundry, not accumulated patina. I happen to have a 1910 catalog from the Fonderie Artistiche Riunite in Naples, which includes samples of the finishes they offered on their bronzes, and one of the finishes is nearly black, a very deep green/brown combination. This was sometimes used for contrast, much like the intentional blackening of recessed details on silverware.
If you care about the historical accuracy of your find, I wouldn't polish off any more of that blackness until having it inspected by someone familiar with similar works.
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snipped-for-privacy@phred.org is Joshua Putnam
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Again, no real knowledge, except to say that there was electicity during some of the Victorian era (1837 to 1901, I guess). Once the lightbulb was popular (starting 1879) other things got invented very quickly. Maybe couldn't get a motor and pump as small as today, but if one is really rich, what does it matter to him? Conservation was not an issue.
But I don't know enough to say they used electric pumps for your fountain.

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mrclose wrote:

fountain would help. Most likely, it ran from a public water supply. NYC had piped water system by 1800. Just about any combination of pumps, cisterns and servants :o) I did a google search, but too much junk to wade through. I ran across a ref. to a roof-top cistern, so any combination of wealth and resources might have come into play.
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What were you hoping to achieve by removing the patina? How do you know the patina was not an intentional effect?
That renowned antiques store took your money and they'd probably be willing to offer/locate some information if you asked them nicely.
R
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"Private/home owned water fountains" were very rare before electric pumps but used the same hydraulic pressure that made the large fountains work in classical Rome, at Versailles in 1780, and in other "water gardens." The hydraulic pressure systems are described in books you will find in the libraries of schools of architecture or engineering. You may also find it was in Victorian times uneconomic to scale down a system that supplied (say) 200 jets in order to supply only one or two.
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Don Phillipson
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