Archimedes' screw

The Archimedes screw was operated by hand and could raise water efficiently
An Archimedes screw in Huseby south of Växjö Sweden
Archimedes screw
Roman screw used to dewater mines in Spain
Modern Archimedes screws which have replaced some of the windmills used to drain the polders at Kinderdijk in the Netherlands
Archimedes screw as a form of art by Tony Cragg at 's-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands
A working Archimedes' Screw, modern.gif

An Archimedes' screw, also known by the name the Archimedean screw or screw pump, is a machine used for transferring water from a low-lying body of water into irrigation ditches. Water is pumped by turning a screw-shaped surface inside a pipe. Archimedes screws are also used for materials such as powders and grains.

Although commonly attributed to Archimedes the device is likely to have been in use long before his time.


The screw pump is commonly attributed to Archimedes,[1] on the occasion of his visit to Egypt. This tradition may reflect only that the apparatus was unknown to the Greeks before Hellenistic times and was introduced in Archimedes's lifetime by unknown engineers.[1] Depictions of Greek and Roman water screws show them being powered by a human treading on the outer casing to turn the entire apparatus as one piece, which would require that the casing be rigidly attached to the screw.

Some researchers have postulated this as being the device used to irrigate the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. A cuneiform inscription of Assyrian King Sennacherib (704–681 BC) has been interpreted by Stephanie Dalley[2] to describe casting water screws in bronze some 350 years earlier. This is consistent with classical author Strabo, who describes the Hanging Gardens as irrigated by screws.[3]

German engineer Konrad Kyeser equipped the Archimedes screw with a crank mechanism in his Bellifortis (1405). This mechanism quickly replaced the ancient practice of working the pipe by treading.[4]

Other Languages
العربية: لولب أرخميدس
български: Архимедов винт
français: Vis d'Archimède
hrvatski: Arhimedov vijak
Bahasa Indonesia: Baling-baling Archimedes
македонски: Архимедов навој
Bahasa Melayu: Skru Archimedes
norsk nynorsk: Arkimedes-spiralen
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Arximed vinti
Simple English: Archimedes' screw
slovenčina: Archimedova skrutka
slovenščina: Arhimedov vijak
српски / srpski: Arhimedov vijak
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Arhimedov vijak
українська: Архімедів гвинт