R. D’Acres

In existographies, R. D’Acres (c.1610-c.1675), was an English mining engineer, possibly a pseudonym of Robert Thornton (1618-1679), noted for the 1659 The Elements of Water Drawing, wherein a heat engine, of some sort, is described in detail. [1]

In 1659, D’Acres, published the 40-page booklet Elements of Water Drawing, which contained a “Philosophical Discourse and New Discovery of Drawing Water Out of Great Deeps by Fire”, along with a disproof of perpetual motion; a sample text of which is as follows: [1]

“The best heating, is by the incensed Air of a close furnace; The speediest Cooling is by water. . . . For the speedier Intercourse of these two contraries, the one may be applyed within side: the other without side the Calder, or Region of the Air; The Cooling water may not enter, for then it necessarily frustrates the ascent of the water; the heated Air out of the Furnace may enter (by the turning of a ****) into the Boul, and so the heat is acted in an instant; Then the materials and Globe being all overhead in a Pond or Cistern of water, they (after the heat by the returning of the **** is diverted) do as speedily cool, and so the rarified Air condensing, the water ascends, and having a brazen Sucker or Clack in the bottom, it cannot go out again, but then by turning the ****, the uppermost water issues forth, by the sucker in the spout, which now the descending water thrusts open, and in the same Act, the enflamed Air follows after; return the ****, and the water ascends as before.”
— R. D’acres (1659), The Elements of Water Drawing [1]


Quotes | On
The following are quotes on D’acres:

“A work which has received less attention than it deserves is R. D'Acres' little volume on The Art of Water-Drawing, first published in London in 1659 (reprinted in facsimile for the Newcomen Society, 1930). D' Acres is believed to be the pseudonym of Robert Thornton (1618-79), a mining engineer with interests in the Warwickshire coalfield. He alone among the technical authors of the period analyses the machines and parts thereof according to type and function. The others describe each machine as a separate and distinct contrivance, repeating descriptions of similar details in full. D'Acres recognizes the nature of atmospheric pressure, and the limit it sets to suction devices; the "principle of work": that every water-raising machine must, whatever its construction, be supplied with more power than would suffice to lift the dead weight of water with which it deals; that perpetual motion is practically impossible; and that simplicity of construction and smoothness of action are essential to the efficient working of all machinery. Unfortunately, his work contains no pictorial illustrations. This fact, together with its small size, and the troubled times in which it appeared, may account for its rarity, and the undeserved oblivion from which it has only lately been rescued by the vigilance of the Newcomen Society.”
— Abraham Wolf (1935), A History of Science Technology and Philosophy in the 16th and 17th Centuries [2]

1. (a) D’Acres, R. (1659). The Elements of Water-Drawing: a Compendious Abstract of All Sorts of Kinds of Water-Machins or Gins Used or Practiced in the World [microform]: With Their Natural Grounds and Reasons, and What Service May Be Expected From Them : As Also New Exquisite Ways and Machins Never Before Published : With a Philosophical Discourse and New Discovery of Drawing Water Out of Great Deeps by Fier : Where Is Also Disapproved the Perpetual Motion, the Water-Poise, the Syphon or Philosophers Engine, the Horizontal Sails, With Divers Other Experiments (preface signed by: R. D’acres; attributed to: Robert Thornton) (fire, 10+ pgs; quote, pgs. 6-7). London: Thomas Leach; W. Heffer & Sons, 1930.
(b) Kirby, Richard; Withington, Sidney; Darling, Arthur; and Kilgour, Frederick. (1956). Engineering in History (pg. 155). Courier, 1990.
2. Wolf, Abraham. (1935). A History of Science Technology and Philosophy in the 16th and 17th Centuries (pg. #). Routledge, 2019.

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