Humans have been trying to harness the elements ever since we first saw the indomitable forces of nature at work. Indeed, the four elements, earth, fire, water and air, have proven to be mysterious in Western civilization, spurring on many scientific inquiries over the past hundreds of years. While alchemy proved to be fruitless, other discoveries came to light that nonetheless altered the very landscape of human potential.
The story of the air over hydraulic cylinder, our mastery over water, actually has its roots in Mesopotamia. While they didnt have anything as fancy as pressure washing, they did manage to create ingenious irrigation canals to water crops. Fast forward a few hundred years to the 1600s and Blaise Pascal. Up until this point, water had been great for aqueducts and cisterns, but there were still quite a few unknowns. Pascal ended up writing PascalUs law, the very law that would prove to be the answer to hydraulic cylinder creation.
This law remained important but unused for a few hundred more years until the 1800s gave us Joseph Bramah. An English inventor and locksmith of some repute, he was very much a tinkerer. His locks were famous the country over for their seeming invincibility to lock picks. While this was fun for him, he nevertheless dabbled around in many other areas, including presses. Rumored to have been developed to help him with his lock picking services, Bramah ended up inventing the hydraulic press, an extremely early form of the hydraulic cylinder that was made possible because of the law set forth by Pascal. It was this invention that was to pave the way for modern industry.
Since that fateful time in the 1800s, the hydraulic cylinder has become an all but required addition for almost all machines, including presses, cranes, diggers and dump trucks. Basically, if the machine needs a lot of force in one direction, the hydraulic cylinder is the way to go. While pneumatic cylinders do exist, air has proven to be far less reliable than water. Air, after all, is much smaller and will escape out of any hole it can find when compressed, no matter how small. Liquid, however, is far easier to contain, meaning it can withstand and dole out far more than cylindrical air.
Today, there exist two types of cylinders. Tie rods are the far sturdier, enhanced in strength by steel rods surrounding the outside of the cylinder. This makes these ideal for presses that need to exert thousands of pounds of pressure. On the other hand are the welded body. Much easier to put together and take apart, these cylinders are found on everything else. While not as strong as the tie rod, they are far more adaptable to movement along different vectors.