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]

Vintage Machinery

Vintage Machinery

This collective website, which started as an online discussion forum, also includes a large database of manufacture… [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    

3 Antique Cast Iron Barn Hay Track Trolley Rope Pulleys 4-1/2" X 3/4"Antique / Vintage Cast Iron Barn Pulley Old Farm Tool Rustic PrimitiveAntique Vintage Cast Iron Skeleton Frame Barn Pulley Farm Wide Wheel PrimitiveAntique Block And Tackle Barn Pulley Nauticle Lockport Block Co Boston Tool Antique 1870 A J Nellis Self Adjust Quik Release Barn Rafter Grapple-pulley HookPair Of Antique Hay Pulleys Cast Iron Barn Tool Vintage PulleyAntique / Vintage Cast Iron Barn Pulley Old Farm Tool Rustic PrimitiveAntique Cast Iron Hay Barn Trolley Pulley Vintage Farm SteampunkAntique Cast Iron 10" Clothes Wash Line Rope Pulley Decorative CollectibleAntique Barn Pulley Lot Wood Primitive Tool Barn FindAntique PulleyAntique Barn Pulley Cast Iron Wood Tool Primitive Barn Find Old Used Vintage Mechanics Tools Farm Hay Trolley Pulley Nice Shape2 Antique Rope Hoist Pulleys ~ Old Vintage Industrial / Barn DecorVintage Antique Primitive Large 17" Tall Cast Iron Well Pulley Steampunk BarnRare Antique Myers Cast Iron Hay Carrier Trolley Drop Pulley Barn Tool Hook H254Antique Cast Iron Wishing Well Barn Pulley Industrial Steampunk Tool PrimitveVintage Primitive 9" Cast Iron Industrial Well Pulley- In As Found Condition Old Antique Or Vintage Small Wooden Pulley W/ Iron Wheel Ship Farm Barn ToolsAntique Ornate Cast Iron Barn Hay Trolley Pulley Fancy Old Vintage Farm ToolAntque Cast Iron & Wood Barn Pulley Vintage Primitive Old PullyVtg. Boston & Lockport Double-rope Pulley Nautical Maritime Old ToolsHeavy Antique Iron Wheel Pulley Steering Turning Knob Primitive Decor Lot B1019th Century Wood Pulley Wheel , Building In Philadelphia. Excellent ShapeAntique Vtg Cast Iron Hay Trolley Barn Hoist Pulley Carrier,the Harvester, RareVintage Cast Iron Barn Pulley Old Farm Tool Rustic PrimitiveAntique / Vintage Cast Iron Barn Pulley Old Farm Tool Rustic Primitive2 Antique Barn Wood & Cast Iron Pulleys 1 Louden Pulley And 1 Unknown Marked B57Vintage Lowden Barn Pulley Antique / Vintage Cast Iron Barn Pulley Old Farm Tool Rustic PrimitiveOld 8" Wheel Pulley Barn Hay Loft Trolley All Cast Iron Steampunk Rustic VintageAntique Barn Pulley Myers Ok Cast Iron Wood Primitive Tool Barn Find VintageVintage Well Pulley Old 9" Wheel Cast Iron Farm Barn Hay Loft Primitive SpinsVintage Hay Rope Sliding Swivel Carrier Hook Old Farm Tool Pulley Chain AntiqueVintage Cast Iron Well Pulley Antique Old Farm Wheel Barn Steampunk Hudson Ra 77Vintage Cast Iron Metal Pulley Farm Barn Hay Antique Rustic Primitive ToolAntique Barn Hay Rope Pulley - Metal - Solid - 12 1/2"Vintage Antique Wooden Pulley Lot Of 2 Lockport Block Co Star Logo Early Nice ~Antique Hit Miss Ihc Titan Famous Engine Pulley Pair Of Antique Cast Iron Heavy Duty 6-3/4" Double Chain Cable Rope PulleysAntique Iron Industrial Rope Pulley ~ Old Vintage Barn Decor / Hanging Farm ToolHermle Grandfather Grandmother Regulator / Wall Clock Cable Pulleys Clock PartsMetal Block Pulley Vintage Farm Old Barn Hay Trolley Carrier Rustic Country*viintage Wooden Boston & Lockport Double Block Tackle Nautical PulleyOld Used Vintage Tools Mechanics Block & Tackle Pulley WoodenLouden Senior Hay Carrier Trolley & Drop PulleyNice Antique Cast Iron Hook Wood Sheave Hay Barn Pulley Farm Tool Trolley RusticRare Antique 3 3/8" Wood And Bronze Sail Boat PulleyVintage Cast Iron Louden Pulley # 125, Hay TrolleyAntique Industrial Machine Age Wood Wooden Flat Belt Split Wheel Mill Pulley 12"Antique Farm Block & Tackle, Rope Pulley Wire Fence Stretcher, Rustic DecorVintage Hay Pulley Canton Ohio The Ney MfgPrimitive Fluted Galvanized Steel Water Well Draw Pail Bucket W/ Valve & PulleyRare Vintage Solid Brass Sailing Double Block+-great Patina-maybe Merriman??Vintage Antique Hudson Wood Pulley....barn Farm Hay Tool....l@@k!Excellent Vintage Barn Block And Tackle Pulley Cast Iron & Wood Triple SleaveAntique Vintage Wood Double Pulley Block & Tackle Barn Fresh SteampunkAntique Vtg Small Metal Pulley Lot 15 Steampunk /industrial/ Barn/ Ship - Decor L3073- Lot Of Antique Pulleys- Farm ToolsAntique Vintage Wooden Foundary Flat Belt Wheel Pulley Hit Miss Steam Punk Decor