The piston pump is a device created in LY 888 by Lyle of Monab. It is powered by water mills, which drive a set of pistons in reciprocating motion, which uses suction to create a low pressure area, thus forcing water into the pump on one end, and out the other end into a system of pipes and valves. These pipes may deliver water to aqueducts for irrigation purposes, or may deliver water into homes or businesses, for purposes of indoor plumbing (most notably water closets). Pumps can also be used to transfer used water into sewers, and from there to treatment facilities to be purified, before being released into the environment or reused in the plumbing system.

In the years since the Coming of the Order, other uses have been found for piston pumps, or related technologies developed by others. Perhaps most notably, this includes the mechanical aspect of the internal enchantment engine, developed in 911 by Cirna Mastera of Sorret. In 914, Anja Frontrun of Plist found that pumps could also be used to compress gases, such as air or carbon dioxide, and stored in steel cylinders. Using a cylinder of her own design, along with a valve and tubing system, Anja developed a new method of serving beer from kegs rather than casks, and pressurized by compressed carbon dioxide. She first shared this new technology with George Taverner, but it quickly spread to taverns and restaurants around the world. Since then, the system Anja developed to dispense keg beer from bar taps has also come to be used for dispensing soft drinks from soda fountains.

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