For Love Key: The History of the Waters

For Love Key: The History of the Waters

As a barge cruiser, the canal system is a complicated and balanced engineering feat. The keystone that supports this water channel is key. Whether run by key owners, followed up by barge owners, or controlled automatically by computer, the key allows fast and easy barge passage through the countryside. Without this engineering miracle, the canal trip is simply not possible. So, how is the key found and what exactly does it do?
When and Why Are They Invented? For Love Key: The History of the Waters

Rivers have long served as important trade and communication networks. However, this network is limited because the ship can not travel deep inland and it is very difficult to travel up through the river. The key, the invention that allowed the ship to gain or lose altitude, was developed by the Chinese in the tenth century and by the Dutch on the thirteenth. The initial “pound” key focuses on filling and drying small sized rooms, and facilitating the construction of the first independent waterway – or canal – that causes worldwide trade expansion. This arrangement also helps ships travel up or down in the domesticated rivers like the Thames.

This centuries-old invention is used today in some of the most important global trade routes – the Panama Canal, for example – and also allows for more relaxed travel, such as barge cruises. For Love Key: The History of the Waters

How do they work?

As we know, this technical miracle is designed to help boats upstream or downstream. If a ship wants to travel upstream, first the bottom gate should be opened so as to let the key drain. Next, the bottom door opened, and the boat could enter the room. After the gates of the lower and lower gates of the water gate are closed, the gate of the upper water door is opened, the water flows in and the water level rises. The boat is gently lifted to the next level and the top door can be opened safely, so the ship can continue its journey. Once again the same process occurs, but vice versa.

Getting Technical: Flights and Ladders

Engineers working with channels often have to cope with sudden changes. This can often not be handled with a single key, leading to a common feature of a channel called ‘flight’. This term refers to a group of 30 keys adjacent to each other, but with a sufficiently wide range between allowing the ship to pass each other. They gradually raise or lower the barge to the appropriate level. Since each room uses water from the above, the flight uses the same amount of water as a single key.

The more popular setting is the stairs; Here the top gate of one room acts as the lower gate above. To help with this process, the side pool is used to adjust the level perfectly in the upper and lower spaces. Of course, the best way to appreciate this amazing engineering feat is from the gentle barge cruise deck.

Paul Newman is a Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, France’s most respected luxury all-inclusive cruise liner provider and other major destinations. Part of an experienced barge team, Paul first queued to support a slow-paced barging cruise facility for anyone looking for a unique holiday experience. For Love Key: The History of the Waters