Whether you call them pulleys, sheaves, or blocks, these ancient devices make light work of heavy loads. A single pulley can cut the amount of force needed to lift an object in half. Multiple pulleys threaded with rope or wire, known as block and tackle, can reduce the energy required to hoist an object into the air even more.

Strictly speaking, the blocks of a pulley are the wood, bronze, brass, or cast-iron pieces that sandwich the grooved sheave, which can be made of just as many different types of materials. Most pulleys have no more than three sheaves because at a certain point the friction created by pulling a rope through that many channels offsets the benefit of the block-and-tackle system itself.

One of the most common types of pulleys collected by fans of Americana is the barnyard pulley, which usually featured wood blocks, metal sheaves, and a cast iron hook. Other barn pulleys were more decorative, with embossed or pierced cast-iron blocks and handsome wooden sheaves. Regardless of their design, these pulleys were typically used to lift bales of hay into the lofts of barns. Pulleys at the top of wells tended to be more decorative than those mounted under the eaves of barns since they were so much more visible to the user.

Of course, many antique and vintage pulleys spent their working lives aboard ships and sailboats, doing everything from setting sails to hauling cargo from the end of a boom onto a boat’s deck, into its hold, or ashore. Vintage pulleys acquired by contemporary collectors may also have been attached to the ends of heavy steel davits, which are commonly used to lower lifeboats and other small craft from a larger vessel into the sea.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Alloy Artifacts

Alloy Artifacts

A tool collectors’ dream, this site is a deep repository of photos and info on 20th century hand tools and the co… [read review or visit site]

Old Woodworking Machines

Old Woodworking Machines

This collective website, which started as an online discussion forum, now also includes a large database of manufac… [read review or visit site]

Drainspotting

Drainspotting

Josh and Cam Larios have created this site enabling people to upload and 'tag' photos of historic or artistic manho… [read review or visit site]

A Millers Falls Home Page

A Millers Falls Home Page

Randy Roeder has carved out a niche for himself with his fine website devoted to the history of the Millers Falls C… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Seth Thomas No.2 #2 Clock Movement # 77b W/pulley And Hands Circa: 1910Antique / Vintage Cast Iron Large Barn Door Rollers Farm Pulley PrimitiveAntique Vintage Cast Iron Hay Trolley Unloader Carrier PulleyVintage Old Farm Barn Hay Trolley Pulley Cast Iron Steel Worn Paint Plant HolderVintage Louden Hay Trolley With Drop Pulley Industrial Light CarrierVintage Wall Clock Stamped Warming With Pulley And 2 Weights Vintage Industrial Wheel Pulley Metal Cast Iron Steampunk Art Gears Cog SprocketAntique Vintage Cast Iron Hudson Barn Pulley. Old Farm Tool - Rustic - PrimativeRelic/antique Shipwreck Dead Eye From Spanish Wreck Vintage Industrial Cast Iron Gear Book Ends Cog Sprocket Pulley Steampunk ArtChrome 8 Inch Plumb Bob With PulleyAntique Primitive Wood Barn Hay Pulley-nice-louden A23Wood Double Pulley Antique Old Primitive Farm Wheel Barn Hay Vtg Americana Com 5Old Antique Cast Iron Primitive Farm Hay Loft Barn Pulley Steam Punk NeatAntique Vienna Regulator PulleysVintage Industrial Gear Cog Sprocket Metal Cast Iron Steampunk Pulley Art GearsAntique / Vintage Cast Iron Barn Pulley Old Farm Tool Rustic PrimitiveAntique F.e. Myers Bros Black Cast Iron Metal Roller Bearing H 411 Pulley U.s.Antique Vintage Myers Hay Trolley Hook Claw Pulley Rig Farm Tool Clean!Good Solid 9" Durbin Durco Barn Pulley,vintage Farm Tool,st Louis Mo.Lot Of Primitive Items: Winchester Folding Ruler, Pulley Wheel And More2 Antique Hit & Miss Engine Cart Wheels Or Primitive PulleysAntique / Vintage Cast Iron Barn Pulley Old Farm Tool Rustic PrimitiveOld Antique Cast Iron Farm Hay Loft Barn Hudson Pulley W Rope Steam Punk NeatAntique Vintage Primitive Wood Barn Pulley-nice-old Farm Tool- MyersVintage Collectible Metal Well Pulley Flywheel Farm Hay Pulley Wheel Barn Decor2 Vintage? Wooden & Metal Pulleys/barn Pulleys #6 H21c...l@@kOld Antique Cast Iron Primitive Farm Hay Loft Barn Pulley Steam Punk Neat NrVintage Lignum Sailboat Pulleys2 - Vintage Stowell Mfg. Co. Metal Barn Pulley. Millwaukee, WisconsinVintage Wrought Iron - Steampunkt - Pulley LotAntique Cast Iron Barn Pulley Decorative Steam PunkLot Of 3 Large Antique Pulleys Block & Tackle Barn Wood One Vintage "boomer" Cast Iron Rustic Hay Trolley Unloader And Pulley RepurposeVintage Antique Metal Pulley In Wood Block Uw Logo #5 3 Line2 Vintage Cast Iron & Wood Block Tackle Pulley Barn NauticalVintage Lot Junk Drawer Salvaged Hardware Knobs Latches Hinges Pulleys BrassVintage Brass Boat Pulley Wilcox Crittenden 4 1/2 TallOld Used Vintage Tools Lineman's Western Electric Rare Cable Puller PulleysVintage Steel Pulley Blocks Pair Hand-forged Iron Hook Industrial Mid Century 3#5 Antique Pulley Lot Wood Metal Vintage Double Single Iron BushedAntique Primitive Wood Barn Pulley-old Farm Tool-niceVintage Small Wood Block Tackle W Rope & Hooks, Anvil Logo Single Double Pulley Antique Farm Steel Wheel (pulley) 13"Vintage Cast Iron Swivel Porcelain PulleyClock Part 2 Vienna Wall Regulator Weight PulleysLarge Antique 12" Cast Iron Well Pulley, Rustic Farm Tool, Steampunk ,with HookAntique Vintage Cast Iron Nellis Hay Harpoon Spear Farm Tool For Trolley~pulley Antique Small Pulley System Block And Tackle Steam Punk VintageDurbin Durco St Louis Mo Fence Stretcher Block And Tackle Pulleys~~lot BbAntique / Vintage Myers Barn Pulley Farm Hay Loft Tool Primitive Signed "o K"Antique Vintage Cast Iron & Wood Barn Pulley, Old Farm Tool Rustic Primitive Durbin Durco St Louis Mo Fence Stretcher Block And Tackle Pulleys~~lot Aa2 Antique 1890's Cast Iron & Wooden Pulleys Myers O.k. H 299, Louden Antique, Hudson Barn Pulley, Great Iron Work With Advertising & Wood PulleyAntique Pulley Light Fixture Piece Chandelier *nice Look* Hay Barn Ney MeyersAntique Primitive Old Barn PulleyClock Part 2 Vienna Wall Regulator Weight PulleysAntique Old Snatch Block Pulley Hook Steampunk Iron Decor Farm Barn 5 Inches Tal 2 Western Block Co. 6 X 1 X 3/8 Pulleys - Trolley Wheels - Farm Hardware