Machine de Marly
In 1678, two Belgians, the lawyer Arnold de Ville (1653–1722) and the carpenter Rennequin Sualem (1645–1708), presented Louis XIV with a proposal to bring the waters of the Seine to the ever-thirsty fountains of Versailles. Following a successful test, the king ordered the construction of this unprecedented machine, which consisted of fourteen waterwheels measuring 38 feet in diameter. Partially submerged in the river, they powered 221 pumps that lifted water in three steps 177 yards up the hillside. Roman-style aqueducts were built to convey the water on toward Marly and Versailles. Inaugurated by the king in 1684, the costly and noisy contraption became a tourist attraction of its own and continued to operate until 1817.