This Agricultural Tool Invented By Archimedes Is Still In Use Today

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Over two thousand years ago, Archimedes invented a tool with huge implications for ancient Greek farmers — and we’re still using it today, but in a different form.

io9’s comment of the day comes from commenter operationcrossroads, who shared this diagram (above) of Archimedes’ Screw and noted that the spiral-shaped water removal tool originally invented by Archimedes has managed to live on through the years, though in a couple different formats:

Archimedes’ Screw. Irrigation was an important use for this and it is still being used for modern applications (Combine Harvesters, micro-electric generators, ship propellers etc.) Invented in the 3rd century BC I don’t see screws going anywhere for quite some time.


Older versions, particularly those from ancient Greece but also several more recent ones from the 19th century marble-workers who also used the device, depended on a hand-crank to get started. These days, though, while you’ll still see the device in use, it’s more likely to be electronic.