The topic of hand pumping water from wells is often a topic discussed here. Today I'm going to give you a little different slant of water well systems. I grew up on a family farm that had two hand dug water wells, one 75' deep, the other 85' deep. Pumping water was done with windmills unless there were a few too many calm days during the summer. We had about 100 head of livestock, so water consumption was fairly high. The three 10' stock tanks were topped off daily, sometimes more often if it was hot. The wells were covered over with old wagon wheels that had been filled with concrete. We called these the well platform. The hole for the axle was left open and through it pipe would extend into the well. Setting on the platform was what we called the pump. This is an incorrect term, and Lehman Hardware lists them as the "pump head". They are cast iron, about 4 feet tall, and have the handle and a spigot on them. They are often seen in movies, not the ones inside of cabins at a sink however, but outdoors a few feet from the doorway, or a distance away. The pump head is internally threaded to receive the down pipe. Rather than risk damaging these threads while making repairs, most farmers would install a length of pipe that was about 18" longer than the bottom of the pump head. Then the connections to the down pipe would always be made here without risk to the threads of the pump head. The pipe used would be 20' lengths of 1Â¼" galvanized steel pipe. This was the standard size of the internal pump head threads. It allowed for an ample flow without restrictions. The down pipe had a small hole drilled in it a few feet below the platform, to allow water to drain from the pump head and pipe so that it didn't freeze in the colder months. Over this hole we would wrap a piece of tin around and wire in place. This would keep a small stream of water from squirting against the side of the well to prevent soil erosion. Remember these were hand dug wells, lined with brick or tile for the first few feet. Inside of the down pipe was a plunger rod, what Lenhman Hardware calls the pump rod. It was 7/16" in diameter, and came in 20' lengths to match the length of pipe. We called the couplings holding the joints together knuckles. Why? I don't know, but that is what the old timers always called them, so I do too. At the bottom of the drop pipe was the well cylinder. This is the pump. We used a 3" diameter cylinder/pump that was 18" long. The stroke of the windmill was not 18", so if the brass liner of the cylinder became scored from wear or sand, the pump rod could be shortened a little to allow wear in a new spot within the cylinder. The stroke of within the cylinder was typically to be 10". Lehman Hardware lists the 3" X 18" cylinder with a 10" stroke as having a capacity of .31 gallon per stroke on a well less than 80' deep. The smaller diameter cylinders are used for deeper wells, with decreased capacities. At the bottom of the cylinder we always had a 24" pipe or thereabouts, with a foot valve installed on the bottom of it. The foot valve had slitted sides for the water to come through, and inside was a finer mesh screening. The slits and mesh and the 24" down pipe were all means of keeping fine sand from getting into the cylinder. The cylinder was simple enough to repair. The end caps came off. Inside there was a piston like one-way water valve. Water would pass through it on the down stroke to fill the cylinder, then close on the upstroke to force the water up the pipe. The foot valve really didn't have any maintainence that could be done on it other than cleaning. Around the water valve, which unscrewed, were cup like leathers. The leathers rode against the cylinder wall, so the cup of the leather was faced upwards. As they were pulled into the water the pressure would expand them against the side to prevent the least amount of leakage as possible. The leathers had to be replaced every year to every couple of years. On occassion if some sand had gotten into the cylinder the brass lining could be honed back smooth. If severly damaged, the cylinders could be sent off to be relined. Relining them in this day and age costs almost as much as a new cylinder, or so I'm told. As the windmill turned, the pump rod stroked the water valve in the cylinder up and down, causing the water to come up inside of the down pipe. The water came out the pump head spigot, or the spigot could be closed via a turn valve and the water would then be diverted out a pipe fitting on the other side of the pump head. From this fitting our water pumped further up into our home water supply tank, a 1,000 gallon redwood tank that set within a building. From there the water gravity flowed to all plumbing. This building had to be heated a little in the winter to prevent the pipes from freezing. Fresh water would be pumped each day to replace what we had used. The heat of this water would afford some freeze protection. Backing up a bit, if the water were allowed out the spigot instead of being diverated for home use, a small bucket like cast iron device threaded for pipe would hang below the spigot to catch the water A pipe from this would go to the stock tank a few feet away. A garden hose fitting could also be turned onto the spigot to take the water away by hose. A hose couldn't carry away the volume of water being pumped, so some would be forced up into the overhead supply tank. The weight of the water and the force from the cylinder gave greater pressure to the hose and would allow a sprinkler to be used. Poorly I might add. lol. These systems were good at providing low cost water. The pressure from the overhead tank was low, and FAR FAR from what we are used to today. There was more maintainence to the well cylinder than there would be to a submersible pump of today. You pretty much had to turn the windmill on and off manually rather than rely on a modern pressure switch to do so. Some people did rig floats up to turn the mill on and off, but with limited success. If you are ready to give up the convenience of automatic higher pressure water and an electric bill, the aforementioned systems work great. Now a days they are very costly to initially install, but cost little to operate thereafter. There are trade offs as with anything relatively free. A plus is that we always had a supply of water even if the electricity was off. Windmill or pump jack, pump head, down pipe, pump rod, well cylinder, foot valve and proper well tools to install, VS. submersible pump, pressure switch, bladder tank, wiring, installation by an electrician, breaker box, poly down pipe, and ??? Proceeding--- Now when the wind didn't blow, the windmill was unhooked and the pump handle was moved into place. AND YES, the pumps easily pumped the water from the 75-85 foot depths. There was no standing water in a casing, only a few feet of water at the very bottom. If more water was needed than the tiring hand pumping could provide, then a "pump jack" could be mounted to the pump head and be powered by an electric motor or a gasoline motor. A pint of gas will pump a lot of water as will a few cents of electricity. Some of you often ponder how to pump water without electricity, the aforementioned system and a pump jack powered by gasoline is the way to go. You don't need to add an overhead tank to a system like this if you don't want to. Merely catch the water as it comes out the spigot and carry it to where needed. I really can't think what else might be said on the subject. If you have questions I'll try to answer them.