Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Cool machine of the day: Archimedes’ Screw [updated]

Water doesn’t flow uphill, you say?  It does with the Archimedes’ Screw – invented by Archimedes well over 2000 years ago, and still in wide use today all over the developed and the developing world for everything from irrigating fields to gathering crops to draining Dutch dykes (insert obvious jokes here).  So simple yet so ingenious – and so helpful.


One of the first examplea of man’s mind applied to production making the world a better place.  Where the animal adapts himself to nature, man adapts nature to himself – making water run uphill was one of the first and most deceptively simple moves down that road.

NB: More on Archimedes’ Screw here at Wikipedia.

UPDATE: The Ancient Greeks were “the inventors of the modern world” in more ways than just culture, philosophy and art.  In science and technology too they were remarkably advanced – a natural consequence of the Pagan Greek’s “this-world” focus.


  1. Quite a lot over 200 years ago I'd say...

  2. "Draining Dykes" Peter?
    I resist the obvious joke suggestion, but I hope you do realise that it's not the dykes being drained, but the lower lying "polders" behind them.
    So the text ought to have been "draining behind the dykes" which makes it all the better I guess.....


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