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A scale model of a crane described by Vitruvius

The Roman Museum in Nyon displays models of the four types of cranes

described by the 1st century AD Roman architect and engineer Vitruvius.

 

To read Book X of his work, de Architectus, in which he describes lifting machines, click here.

The Roman engineers used cranes powered by animals or humans to life heavy things. A simple crane is a pulley, at the top of a poll, anchored by guy ropes. A larger, more complex crane would have a system of pulleys and winches.

Cranes were a very important part of the Roman world: they made building large stone buildings like the forum possible.

 

Cranes lift heavy loads because they use pulleys: a rope around a pulley allows you to lift something heavy by pulling down. They increase the force produced by your energy.

This model was built on a scale 1:20 by Hugo Lienhard, based on the scientific conception: P. André and F. Rossi

Imagine the weight of the block being lifted as 1600 kg

Learn more about Vitruvius: visit this Engines of our Ingenuity web site.

See another model crane set in a building site at the Roman Museum in Nyon.

 


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This page was updated on 19 June, 2004 by K. Epps

Unless otherwise mentioned, all photos are by Katharine Epps.
Sauf mention contraire les photos sont de Katharine Epps


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