Museo Galileo
Virtual Museum
Model of Archimedean screw or cochlea
    • Setting:
      Room VII
    • Inventor:
    • Maker:
    • Date:
      second half 18th cent.
    • Materials:
      wood, brass, copper
    • Dimensions:
      height 600 mm, base 800x210 mm
    • Inventory:
    • Model of Archimedean screw or cochlea (Inv. 998)

Model of a water-lifting device called Archimedean screw or cochlea. The wooden base carries a hinged frame whose slope can be adjusted by resting it against one of the notches carved into the base. The frame carries a wooden cylinder fitted with a handle and a helical copper channel on the outside. Turning the handle raises a ball placed at the lower end of the channel. It is now believed that a similar contrivance, albeit with different construction features, was invented by Archimedes. The cochleas used in antiquity were effectively composed of a wooden tube containing a concentric axle. Between the axle and the tube, several partitions were attached in a helical, parallel sequence, resembling that of a helical staircase. Archimedean screws are still used today, particularly for raising liquids carrying suspended matter and debris. Resembles item inv. 999. Provenance: Lorraine collections.