The Ten Books on Architecture, 10.3.2

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 10.3.1 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 10.3.3 ›››

Gwilt translation

2I will proceed to the explanation of this. The pulleys revolve on axles which go across the blocks, and are acted upon by straight ropes which coil round the axle of the windlass when that is put in motion by the levers, thus causing the weight to ascend. The pivots of the windlass axle are received into, or play in the gudgeons of the cheeks, and the levers being inserted in the holes provided for them in the axle, are moved in a circular direction, and thus cause the ascent of the weight. Thus also, an iron lever being applied to a weight which many hands could not remove; if a fulcrum, which the Greeks call ὑπομόχλιον, be placed under it, and the tongue of the lever be under the weight, one man’s strength at the end will raise the weight.

Morgan translation

2As centres, axles are inserted into the sheaves, and these are fastened in the blocks; a rope carried over the sheaves, drawn straight down, and fastened to a windlass, causes the load to move upward from its place as the handspikes are turned. The pivots of this windlass, lying as centres in right lines in its socket-pieces, and the handspikes inserted in its holes, make the load rise when the ends of the windlass revolve in a circle like a lathe. Just so, when an iron lever is applied to a weight which a great many hands cannot move, with the fulcrum, which the Greeks call ὑπομὁχλιον, lying as a centre in a right line under the lever, and with the tongue of the lever placed under the weight, one man’s strength, bearing down upon the head of it, heaves up the weight.