how do hydraulic presses and hydraulics in general work?

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Imagine you’re in a rectangular room with two movable walls that are on opposite sides of each other. Now imagine you’re in this room and it’s packed *full* of people.

One wall starts moving inwards. What happens is the people closest to the moving wall will push those around them, and they all push each other until the wall on the opposite side moves outwards to make room.

This is how hydraulics work. You can try this out with a simple experiment. Get 2 syringes and fill one full of water and fully depress the other (such that it is empty). Now connect their openings together tightly (a rubber tube is best). Depress the syringe full of water and watch what happens.

The syringe stoppers are the movable walls. The water are the people inside. The syringe tube are the remaining 2 walls.