Museum of Ancient Inventions: Ship Shaking Device

Ship Shaking Device, Syracuse, 214 BCE

The ship-shaking device was invented by the great mathematician and inventor Archimedes around 214 BCE. The Carthaginians used the device to ward off potential invasions by Roman ships. With the help of two poles, a pulley system, and a large hook, the Carthaginians were able to successfully combat the Romans for over two years. The Romans came to fear the sight of a hook and pole dangling over an enemy wall, for they knew that once hooked, their ship would be lifted into the air and then dropped back into the water.

Method of Construction

Constructed by: Kristen Shutts and Anne-Sinclair Beauchamp

We began our model of Archimedes’ invention with a platform of wood. We then constructed and carve a “stone” wall out of wood to divide land from water. We made the poles of the device from dowels and the joints and pulleys from scrap metal in the shop. We used polyester resin to create the appearance of liquid seawater.


Heath, Thomas L.Archimedes.New York:The Macmillan Company, 1920.

Dijksterhuis, E.J. Archimedes. New Jersey: Princeton University Press,1987.The Ancient Inventions


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Ancient History
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