I have always wanted a pulley system like this, not sure where I will use it. It also mate for a great restoration.
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More info on the pulley history.
A pulley is a wheel on an axle or shaft that is designed to support movement and change of direction of a taut cable or belt or transfer of power between the shaft and cable or belt. In the case of a pulley supported by a frame or shell that does not transfer power to a shaft, but is used to guide the cable or exert a force, the supporting shell is called a block, and the pulley may be called a sheave.
A pulley may have a groove or grooves between flanges around its circumference to locate the cable or belt. The drive element of a pulley system can be a rope, cable, belt, or chain.
The earliest evidence of pulleys dates back to Ancient Egypt in the Twelfth Dynasty (1991-1802 BCE) and Mesopotamia in the early 2nd millennium BCE. In Roman Egypt, Hero of Alexandria (c. 10-70 CE) identified the pulley as one of six simple machines used to lift weights. Pulleys are assembled to form a block and tackle in order to provide a mechanical advantage to apply large forces. Pulleys are also assembled as part of belt and chain drives in order to transmit power from one rotating shaft to another. Plutarch's Parallel Lives recounts a scene where Archimedes proved the effectiveness of compound pulleys and the block-and-tackle system by using one to pull a fully laden ship towards him as if it was gliding through water.
A set of pulleys assembled so that they rotate independently on the same axle form a block. Two blocks with a rope attached to one of the blocks and threaded through the two sets of pulleys form a block and tackle.
A block and tackle are assembled so one block is attached to the fixed mounting point and the other is attached to the moving load. The ideal mechanical advantage of the block and tackle is equal to the number of parts of the rope that support the moving block.