RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1857. The subject of deep wells. Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette no. 30 (25 July): 518.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe 2002-8, textual corrections by Sue Asscher 1.2007. RN4

[page] 518

The Subject of Deep Wells has been sometimes discussed in your columns.1 I have a well 325 feet deep, and the 12-gallon bucket actually weighs 40 lbs. For many years I used a chain weighing 232 lbs.; this, with the water, itself 96 lbs., amounts to 481 lbs.2 I have made an enormous saving of labour by using for the last half year Newall's patent wire rope.3 Now, will any one have the charity to say from experience whether there could not be a great saving in the weight of the bucket. Would zinc, or gutta percha, or leather serve? The bucket must be strong enough to withstand being occasionally dashed against the side of the well. Or must I stick to my old substantial oaken friend? C. D.

1 See Darwin 1852.

2 These figures add up to 368 pounds.

3 Robert Stirling Newall (1812–1889), engineer and astronomer, manufactured wire ropes from the 1840s.

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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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