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Rennequin Sualem

 (1645-1708)

He was born in Jemappe-sur-Meuse (now a suburb of Liège).

He was a master carpenter and a pioneer of hydraulic engineering.

Around 1668, he was commissioned by the Count of Marchin to build a mechanism to raise water 50 metres from the River Hoyoux to the courtyard of the Château de Modave.

He achieved this remarkable feat by designing an innovative series of water-wheels, which came to the attention of King Louis XIV, who summoned him to his newly-built palace at Versailles and made him Royal Engineer in charge of providing pressurised water for the fountains and ponds in the palace gardens. He achieved this by linking 14 of his “Modave wheels” to raise water to a height of 163m, thus providing sufficient pressure to distribute it throughout the gardens.

The delighted King ennobled Rennequin and asked him where the idea for the machine had come from. Rennequin replied in his native Walloon dialect “Tot tuzant, sire” (“By thinking hard, Sire”).

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Belgian Tourist Office Wallonia 217 Marsh Wall London E14 9FJ Tel: 0207 531 0390 info@belgiumtheplaceto.be