La Machine de Marly in the 19th Century

This is la Machine de Marly as it was known most recently. Built in 1858 by Dufrayer, it was one of the replacements for the original machine of 1685. Several Impressionist painters from the area found it interesting subject matter.

Six huge paddlewheels (40 ft. diameter by 13 ft. wide) were in the interior of the 1858 Machine. Its construction was encouraged by Napoleon III, who extended the supply pipes all the way to his favorite chateau in St Cloud.

The array of pipes can be seen behind the smokestack of the Cecile and Martin "Steam Machine", which functioned between 1824-1856. The "Service des Eaux de Versailles et Saint Cloud" company still uses these pipes to carry water pumped (by electricity) from wells in the Croissy aquifer up to reservoirs still in use since Louis XIV's era.

The machinery in the 1858 Machine was still in use up until 1963, at that point being used to generate electricity. The building was demolished in 1968, considered an obstacle to navigation.

A more recent postcard of the Machine site, on which one can see, across the river, two of the original administrative buildings from the 1685 Machine (left and center-right), and the steam-driven Machine of 1824 (right). Reflected in the water, at the top of the hill is Madame du Barry's Pavillon de Musique.

This 1830 engraving by Georges Muller shows the replacement steam Machine on the right, and the remenants of the original Machine in the lower center, which was in use until the early 1800s. Two of the original wheels were left standing and retrofitted with new pumps which could propel water to the highest resevoirs in one stage instead of three. All of the old pumping mechanisms on the hill have disappeared, and a public walkway has taken over the steep maintenance road running up behind the old paddlewheels. At the top of the hill, just to the left of the path, is Madame du Barry's Pavillon de Musique.