Archimedes' Screw
   Archimedes' Screw has been used to lift water to higher levels since ancient times. Archimedes (287-212 B.C.) is the traditional inventor of this device, which was originally used for irrigation in the Nile delta and for pumping out ships. I have seen a nineteenth century Archimedes' screw still at work pumping water in a windmill at Schermerhoorn in the province of North Holland in the Netherlands. It lifted the water a vertical distance of 1 meter.

   An analysis, using the lifting of marbles instead of water, is used in almost all nineteenth century texts. The lower end of the helical tube dips into a dish of marbles and scoops one up. The helix continues to revolve, and the marble is continually being lifted a short distance up an inclined plane. The frictional forces are small, and the marble keeps rolling down an infinite succession of inclined planes formed by the revolving helix. At the same time the marble resides at the local low spot on the helix, and is carried up the slope by forces perpendicular to its local motion. 

   The model Archimedes' Screw at the top right is in the Smithsonian Institution collection, and was sold by Queen in 1867 at $5.00.

   The middle right example is by Benjamin Pike, Jr. of New York, and and is $9.00 in the 1866 catalogue. It is at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky.

   At the bottom right is an Archimedes' screw demonstration from the United States Military Academy at West Point. This was made by Pixii of Paris, and bought by the Academy in 1829. The example below is also by Pixii, and is in the Smithsonian Institution collection.

   Here is a third example of a Pixii Archimedes Screw, this time from the University of Mississippi.

   This is listed in the 1849 catalogue of Pixii of Paris at 45 francs (about $9.00).


    This example is in the collection of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, and may be home-built. An exponential sagging of the tube seems to have taken place.

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