On Architecture

Vitruvius Pollio

Vitruvius Pollio, creator; Morgan, M. H. (Morris Hicky), 1859-1910, translator

1. WHEELS on the principles that have been described above are also constructed in rivers. Round their faces floatboards are fixed, which, on being struck by the current of the river, make the wheel turn as they move, and thus, by raising the water in the boxes and bringing it to the top, they accomplish the necessary work through being turned by the mere impulse of the river, without any treading on the part of workmen.

2. Water mills are turned on the same principle. Everything is the same in them, except that a drum with teeth is fixed into one end of the axle. It is set vertically on its edge, and turns in the same plane with the wheel. Next to this larger drum there is a smaller one, also with teeth, but set horizontally, and this is

attached (to the millstone). Thus the teeth of the drum which is fixed to the axle make the teeth of the horizontal drum move, and cause the mill to turn. A hopper, hanging over this contrivance, supplies the mill with corn, and meal is produced by the same revolution.

1. THERE is also the method of the screw, which raises a great quantity of water, but does not carry it as high as does the wheel. The method of constructing it is as follows. A beam is selected, the thickness of which in digits is equivalent to its length in feet. This is made perfectly round. The ends are to be divided off on their circumference with the compass into eight parts, by quadrants and octants, and let the lines be so placed that, if the beam is laid in a horizontal position, the lines on the two ends may perfectly correspond with each other, and intervals of the size of one eighth part of the circumference of the beam may be laid off on the length of it. Then, placing the beam in a horizontal position, let perfectly straight lines be drawn from one end to the other. So the intervals will be equal in the directions both of the periphery and of the length. Where the lines are drawn along the length, the cutting circles will make intersections, and definite points at the intersections.


2. When these lines have been correctly drawn, a slender withe of willow, or a straight piece cut from the agnus castus tree, is taken, smeared with liquid pitch, and fastened at the first point of intersection. Then it is carried across obliquely to the succeeding intersections of longitudinal lines and circles, and as it advances, passing each of the points in due order and winding round, it is fastened at each intersection; and so, withdrawing from the first to the eighth point, it reaches and is fastened to the line to which its first part was fastened. Thus, it makes as much progress in its longitudinal advance to the eighth point as in its oblique advance

over eight points. In the same manner, withes for the eight divisions of the diameter, fastened obliquely at the intersections on the entire longitudinal and peripheral surface, make spiral channels which naturally look just like those of a snail shell.