Although wells had been known for many centuries, it was Carthusian monks in France who developed the first artesian well (near Artois, France, which is how it gets the name “artesian”). The first artesian well was dug in 1126 A.D., in Lillers. The monks sunk a shaft a few inches in diameter through impermeable strata in the ground, which reached a layer of water under pressure, thus causing the water to rise to the surface, without the need for pumping it from underground.
The Carthusian monks used the technique of percussion drilling, by hammering a pointed object into the rock, which itself was imported from China. Water from an aquifer (a layer of soft rock that will allow water to collect in it) is collected from rains or runoff, sinks slowly into the soil, which filters it, in the recharge zone (where the impermeable rock does not block the passage of water into the aquifer). Then the water collected in the aquifer is sandwiched between layers of impervious rock, and therefore is under pressure, and so when the pipe is sunk and reaches the water, the water gushes out.
The French drilled many artesian wells, and the practice then spread first to other parts of Europe, then to the United States, Australia, and many other places. Artesian wells are still in use today in many places, and Olympia beer used to be brewed only with artesian well water. Without this medieval invention, many towns in the United States would not exist, as the wells would have required too much pumping.