A Brief History of Pulleys and How They are Made Today

By: | December 10th, 2016

Scholars credit Archimedes with the earliest theoretical development of the pulley. According to Plutarch, a Greek historian, Archimedes claimed that he could move the world if he had enough pulleys.

Eventually, King Hieron of Syracuse asked Archimedes to move a large ship in Hieron’s navy. On the appointed day, Archimedes set up his system of pulleys, the King loaded the ship full of passengers and cargo, and Archimedes pulled the rope from a distance. The result? Plutarch said the shipped moved “as smoothly and evenly as if she had been in the sea.”

A long time ago, this was a mere novelty, but today, this is basic science. To explain it crudely, pulleys distribute weight through different segments of rope to make lifting heavy objects easier. One can continue to make the lift easier by adding more and more pulleys to different places within the system. However, the math also becomes a little more complicated, but the general rule is as follows: the more pulleys, the more power.

So how are pulleys made?

To make a pulley, manufacturers typically mix an alloy of 50% iron and 50% steel, then heat it to 1370 degrees Celsius or 2498 degrees Fahrenheit.To make it stronger, a bit of carbon and silicon are added, where the alloy is then sent off to the molding phase.

The following video by DGCRANE will show you how they made their pulley, specifically for their Jib Crane product:

Guest Post Submitted By: Shenalyn Portugal

Technology, engineering, and design enthusiast.

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