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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Gardeners’ Chronicle   [before 25 July 1857]1


The subject of Deep Wells has been sometimes discussed in your columns.2 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. I have made an enormous saving of labour by using for the last half year Newall’s patent wire rope. 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.


The original letter has not been found. It was published in the 25 July 1857 issue of Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette.
CD had contributed to this earlier discussion about wells (see Correspondence vol. 5, letter to Gardeners’ Chronicle, [before 10 January 1852]).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


CD has saved an enormous amount of labour since he replaced the chain on his deep well with wire rope. He now asks readers whether they have had experience of saving on the weight of the bucket by using some material other than oak.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Gardeners’ Chronicle
Sent from
Source of text
Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 25 July 1857, p. 518

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2127,” accessed on 21 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6