We all know of pulleys and levers–simple machines that move massively heavy objects with just a small amount of force. Archimedes said “Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world.”
But what about the Egyptian Pyramids? Stone Hedge? Did they use the levers we know nowadays? Or did they have something simpler?
Retired construction worker Wallace T Wallington might have the answer.
Wallington has demonstrated how a single man using sticks and stones can do anything from moving a barn 300 feet to lifting a 19,000+ lb concrete block upright.
When moving his massive blocks, Wallington treats the blocks like levers. “To move a block about the weight of a minivan,” he said, “…[I] place a stone underneath it, and once I balance on it I can spin it.”
A single stone only allows Wallington to rotate the block. If he places a second stone beneath it, every half rotation the block moves horizontally. “Additional weight or leverage is used and can be shifted so the weight can be balanced on more than one fulcrum. For horizontal movement the fulcrum is also a pivot.” Wallington says he can move a 1-ton block 300 feet per hour.
Wallington has used a similar technique to move a barn.
No machinery–just fulcrums and counterweights. “I have found that only simple wooden tools and gravity is needed for moving heavy weight. Nothing rigid is necessary. You do not need to lift weight to move it from place to place. Stones make excellent fulcrums and pivot points.”
While building his Stonehenge replica, Wallington demonstrated how he lifted a 19,200 lb block 3 feet off the ground without any machinery. “[Gravity] is my favorite too,” he said. “I just rock the block back and forth.”
Wallington balances his massive block on a fulcrum of wooden planks encased in a shoring box. By putting weights on one end of the block, he tips the block and opens a gap in the shoring box.
He then slides a board into the gap, moves the weight to the other end, and repeats the process. The wood in the shoring box lifts the block like a jack lifting a car.
“I found that the heavier an object is the easier it is to balance it. … [I]t resists movement and once it is set in motion it resists change. Also, once a weight is close to balance on a single point, rotation can be initiated and the object becomes stable. The more weight, the more inertia, the more inertia, the more stable, therefore the heavier the better.”
After raising the block, Wallington digs a pit next to it and uses a the block’s own weight to stand it up. He explained, “This is just a big teeter totter, and I got the big kid on that end. He’s going to go down, and this ends going up.”
“Some megaliths could have been set in place by as few as one man,” Wallington believes. “In response to Archimedes most famous quote … I respond with ‘Give it two places to rest and I can also move the world.'”
Warning: Moving heavy objects can be extremely dangerous. Do not attempt on your own.