The Ten Books on Architecture, 10.9.7

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 10.9.6 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 10.10.1 ›››

Gwilt translation

7Thus, when the vessel is on its way, whether impelled by oars or by the wind, the paddles of the wheels, driving back the water which comes against them with violence, cause the wheels to revolve, whereby the axle is also turned round, and consequently with it the drum-wheel, whose tooth, in every revolution, acts on the tooth in the second wheel, and produces moderate revolutions thereof. Wherefore, when the wheels are carried round by the paddles four hundred times, the horizontal wheel will only have made one revolution, by the striking of that tooth on the side of the vertical wheel, and thus, in the turning caused by the horizontal wheel every time it brings a ball to the hole it falls through the channel. In this way, by sound and number, the number of miles navigated will be ascertained. It appears to me, that I have completed the description in such a manner that it will be easy to comprehend the structure of the machine, which will afford both utility and amusement in times of peace and safety.

Morgan translation

7So, when a ship is making headway, whether under oars or under a gale of wind, the floatboards on the wheels will strike against the water and be driven violently back, thus turning the wheels; and they, revolving, will move the axle, and the axle the drum, the tooth of which, as it goes round, strikes one of the teeth of the second drum at each revolution, and makes it turn a little. So, when the floatboards have caused the wheels to revolve four hundred times, this drum, having turned round once, will strike a tooth of the horizontal drum with the tooth that is fixed to its side. Hence, every time the turning of the horizontal drum brings a stone to a hole, it will let the stone out through the pipe. Thus by the sound and the number, the length of the voyage will be shown in miles.

I have described how to make things that may be provided for use and amusement in times that are peaceful and without fear.