Even today, much commercial cargo still travels by water. The building of canals was vital to opening up access to trade and industry. The author has provided a comprehensive review from 2,500BC to modern times of the development of canals. Very Highly Recommended.
NAME: The Canal Pioneers, Canal Construction from 2,500 BC to the Early 20th Century FILE: R2431 AUTHOR: Anthony Burton PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PAGES: 203 PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: Inland waterways, canals, river networks, locks, slips, navigations, lakes, short cuts, canal boats, sail powered, oar powered, steam powered ISBN: 1-47386-049-0 IMAGE: B2431.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/hqv7aq2 LINKS: Current Discount Offers http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/sale DESCRIPTION: Even today, much commercial cargo still travels by water. The building of canals was vital to opening up access to trade and industry. The author has provided a comprehensive review from 2,500 BC to modern times of the development of canals. Very Highly Recommended. For many readers, it may be a surprise to find out how long ago the first canals were built. The popular appreciation of canals is of the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the even more recent great canals at Panama and Suez. The author has picked the starting point for his review as 2,500 BC, when the Egyptians brought stone to the site of the pyramids. The very first canals may have been dug even earlier, but the Egyptian pyramid builders are a good and uncontroversial point to begin. Until very recent times, man has depended on rivers, lakes and the oceans as a highway. Even in the age of Roman road building, waterways still provided the most effective highways, particularly where the need was to carry heavy items. The Romans built roads primarily for military communications, designed to allow the legions to march between forts and centres of population quickly and in all weathers. They also provided highways for fast military chariots. For trade, waterways still worked best. There is some indication from archaeology that simple canals had been built in the distant past to provide shallow man-made cuts to bypass long bends in rivers. The Egyptians however required something much more sophisticated and substantial to allow barges to sail from the nearest rivers to the pyramid building sites. The broad principles of canal building have remained unchanged, although the detail has varied. To connect water, rivers, lakes, and oceans, at different levels, the lock has proved a practical solution, although the Chinese replaced locks with stone ramps and hauled the vessels up the ramp to the next level. Locks initially employed guillotine gates, but the better solution was found to be the mitre gate that is used around the world. However, as hydraulics and large metal structures became practical, the lift, or wheel, offered an effective alternative, lifting the vessel in a metal tank between levels of water. The disadvantage of the lock has always been that it can be a greedy user of water, requiring reservoirs to help out in dry periods. To avoid this, tunnels and aqueducts were used from early times. Today, with barges equipped with engines, long tunnels are more effective but required hard manual work when barges were pulled along by horses that could not be used in tunnels. Canals are still being built and old canals being restored. In addition to providing a method of moving cargo, they now also provide an important leisure resource and some are being planned as an effective way of moving water to areas that receive low rainfall and high water demand. One proposal that has been considered in Britain is for a new canal network to link into existing canals and reservoirs to bring water from the north down to the water hungry south, but which could also provide a way of linking all waterways together into a comprehensive national network. The author has provided many new insights and the standard of illustration is excellent.