What Are Pumps?

Pumps are designed to perform one primary function; transference of liquids from one location to another. They are used in various industries such as water plants, sewage systems, construction, mining and extraction. Pumps save hundreds of labor hours due to advances in modern technology however, it was a work in progress for millennia. How were they developed? Let’s find out.

History of Pumps

3000 BC

The first concept of a pump was invented in Mesopotamia, and its primary purpose was to lift water from rivers. A lever was built on poles where one end was tied to a counterweight and the other was tied to a bucket. The bucket was let down into the water and then left, allowing the counterweight to bring the bucket filled with water back up.

2000 BC

The concept of the pump was then developed by the Egyptians, where the first pump was invented. It was called a Shadoof and it brought up water from the water wells.

100 BC

The Greeks created a water wheel along a long tube with valves in the middle, in the shape of a human-size screw. With every turn, water was brought up into a trough. The technology is still used today for agriculture purposes.


The first centrifugal pump was invented by a French inventor named Denis Pepin. It was invented for drainage systems but it has since been developed for construction, extraction, chemical production, and food and beverage industries.


Pumps got industrialized and many businesses started manufacturing them for different industries. The century, by far, had the quickest developments in pump designs due to commercialization. Full metal pumps were also created during the 19th century.


Many notable engineers created their own companies based on their design patents. The industry evolved as the hydraulic industry was booming.


The pump industry has been an essential foundation for other industries to thrive. Construction has sped up, large populations have access to clean water without shortage, crude oil extractions are fast enough to support the petroleum industry and much more. Pumps have gotten more complex, allowing for riskier operations. With developments in materials for durability, it is bound to be better.

Get Quality Pumps with Contact Instruments

We are a process instrumentation and hydraulic equipment manufacturer based in Canada. We provide industry-standard products for your drilling needs. Our products include pump impellers, trash pump parts, type F pressure gauges and much more. Head to our products pages to check them out!