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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Gardeners’ Chronicle   [c. 27 April 1853]1


C R D would be glad of information on the following point, and it might be useful to others as well as himself. He intends making a large tank, and has three others, much smaller but deeper tanks, standing on the same level or a little lower, which he wants to have the power of filling from the large tank. The distance between the two furthest tanks is about 180 feet, but not in a quite straight line; the deepest tank is 21 feet. Now, can any one tell him whether a syphon made of Burgess and Keys’ canvas hose, lined and coated with gutta percha, or of any other material, would practically answer? What bore should the syphon have, to convey in the course of 10 or 12 hours 3000 gallons of water?2


Dated by CD’s reference in the letter to Edward Cresy, 29 April [1853], to his having recently written to the Gardeners’ Chronicle.
Following the letter the editor commented: ‘It depends altogether on the difference of level between the water in the one tank and that in the other. The syphon may be filled easily, if one end be placed in one tank, and a hand garden syringe tied to the other end, which would soon pump it full.’ There was one response to CD’s request for information: A Country Subscriber tells C R D that he has tried the canvas hose and it proved a perfect failure. “Why could he not lay a drain with common pipe draining tiles from his large tank to the smaller ones, so that it might overflow into them, if there should be a fall, or have one of Urwin’s pumps and gutta percha hose?” (Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, no. 20, 14 May 1853, p. 318)


Solicits information about the kind of syphon required to convey water from a proposed large water tank to existing smaller ones.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Gardeners’ Chronicle
Sent from
Source of text
Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, no. 19, 7 May 1853, p. 302

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1516A,” accessed on 6 July 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5