What Was the Archimedes Screw Used for in Ancient Greece?

Have you ever heard of the Archimedes screw? This ancient Greek invention may have been around for over 2,000 years, but its design is still used today in modern technology. In this article, we’ll explore the history and uses of the Archimedes screw.

What is an Archimedes Screw?

The Archimedes screw is a simple yet effective machine that is used to move water or other liquids from one place to another. The device consists of a spiral tube, which is wrapped around a shaft. As the shaft turns, the spiral tube scoops up water at one end and carries it to the other end.

The History of the Archimedes Screw

The Archimedes screw was invented by Archimedes himself in ancient Greece around 250 BCE. The device was originally used for irrigation purposes to help farmers transport water from rivers to their crops. It quickly became popular throughout Greece and was even used in Roman times.

Uses of the Archimedes Screw

Today, there are many different uses for the Archimedes screw. It is commonly used in wastewater treatment plants to move sewage from one place to another. The screw can also be found in hydroelectric power plants, where it helps move water through turbines to generate electricity.

How Does an Archimedes Screw Work?

The design of the Archimedes screw is quite simple yet effective. As mentioned earlier, a spiral tube is wrapped around a shaft at an angle. When the shaft rotates, water or other liquids are scooped up by the spiral tube and carried along its length until they reach the top.

  • The bottom end of the spiral tube dips into the liquid being transported.
  • The rotation of the shaft causes liquid to enter into each individual coil at its lowest point.
  • As the shaft turns, the coil moves in an upward direction, carrying the liquid with it.
  • The liquid is then discharged at the upper end of the screw.


The Archimedes screw is a remarkable invention that has stood the test of time. Its simple yet effective design has been used for over 2,000 years, and it continues to be used in modern technology today. From irrigation to power generation, this ancient Greek invention has proven its worth in a variety of applications.