DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Plate from 18th century encyclopedia showing an illustration of an Archimedes' screw, also called the Archimedean screw or screwpump, is a machine historically used for transferring water from a low-lying body of water into irrigation ditches. Archimedes' screw consists of a screw (a helical surface surrounding a central cylindrical shaft) inside a hollow pipe. The screw is turned usually by a windmill or by manual labour. As the shaft turns, the bottom end scoops up a volume of water. This water will slide up in the spiral tube, until it finally pours out from the top of the tube and feeds the irrigation systems. The screw was used mostly for draining water out of mines or other areas of low lying water.
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