What Are Pulleys Made Of?

Written by tim brown
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What Are Pulleys Made Of?
The origin of the fixed pulley system is unknown. (pulley of a boat image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com)

A fixed pulley is a tool used to move items to different vertical heights, such as lifting and lowering sails, building skyscrapers and cathedrals, and elevating heavy objects like ships or aeroplanes. Its components are simple.

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Rope is used to disseminate force throughout the pulley system. Pulling on the rope will raise or lower the object in the pulley system.


Wheels generate the lifting power for the pulley. Rope is fed through the wheel with a load attached to one end. The wheel is able to go in either direction to lift or lower the weight. Multiple wheels can be used to increase the strength of the system. Grooves can be cut into the wheel to help generate more grip.


A "force of exertion" is necessary to move the load. This force pulls the other side of the rope through the pulley and causes the object to lift. The force can be a worker who manually pulls the rope or affixes it to something stronger, like a motor or livestock.

What Are Pulleys Made Of?
Historically, oxen were used to power large pulleys. (vache image by manuelclerc from Fotolia.com)

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