Six Basic Machines of Classical Antiquity

By looking at the pictures, can you identify the basic machine principle at work? What is the missing sixth machine principle? (Hint: beer bottle opener) And finally, where do you see these principles at work all around you?

Basic Machine 1
Basic Machine 2
Basic Machine 3
Basic Machine 4
Basic Machine 5

8 Replies to “Six Basic Machines of Classical Antiquity”

  1. #1: A pail to fetch water from the well: Strength.
    #2: Metal press: Force/Energy.
    #3: A wheel: Momentum.
    #4: A scale: Balance.
    #5: Crushing/grinding stone from stone age: Ignorance (?)

  2. Shiva, number 3 and 4 are right on. The principles of the wheel and a balance are classic mechanical principles that were very useful in moving things around and measuring things. Your other guesses are not quite it. 🙂

  3. 1. Pulley
    2. Inclined plane
    3. Wheel
    4. I’d go with lever, but I want to save that guess for #6 (bottle opener)…it’s tempting to consult Wikipedia but I’ll resist until after I post
    5. Wedge
    6. Lever

  4. I think the stone wheel (machine 3) on it’s side over another wheel could have also used for grinding/milling grain into flour increasing the efficiency over hand grinding.

  5. There apparently is some debate as to what the six classical machines of antiquity are. Greg and Judy together got all six which are:

    1. Pulley
    2. Screw – which does apply the principle of an inclined plane but in a rotating motion. It is unique in it’s ability to turn and drive inward.

    3. Wheel
    4. Scale or Balance
    5. Wedge – or can be a more direct application on an inclined plane.
    6. Lever

    A hammer is a good one too although I suspect that primates have take heavy things and hitting other things for quite some time. It apparently took a long time to go from even chipped stones to polished wedges.

    Anyway, found the application of basic principles interesting and you see it all around us today!

  6. heres five:
    1 lever
    2 pulley
    3 wheel and axle
    4 wedge
    5 screw

    there you go 5 of the 6 simple machines

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