A Brief History of Lead Screws and Their Development

A Brief History of Lead Screws and Their Development

To explore the real history, we need to go all the way back to ancient Greece. The invention of the screw back then and today serves mirroring purposes to convert motion from rotary to linear. Not much has changed regarding this one key function except for technological advancement and applications. Let’s dive into the history of lead screws and their development.

Background of the Screw

Many people know that the popular screw contains a cylindrical shaft with helical ridging, also known as threading. The shaft will rotate through a static object or a stationary shaft with a rotating nut in most applications. The screw must pass through another object through a threaded hole that aligns with that screw.

Ancient Greek Theory

Greek engineer and mathematician Archimedes is often credited with the invention of the screw. In ancient Greece, the screw’s most common application was in a screw press that magnified force. A screw press is a large machine operated by oxen or multiple large men. Generally, the machine’s primary objective was to squeeze oil from olives and juice from grapes.

The Archimedes screw water pump came around in 234 BC, and many credited Archimedes for this invention. Around the 15th century, however, screw-cutting lathes became widely popular, and this shifted the screw into more usability in fastening, augers, and drilling.

The Lead Screw

Unfortunately, it is unclear when the lead screw came about. It’s also referred to as a translation or power screw, and it works by rotating the shaft and moving the nut linearly. Many would argue that the original grape and olive press was the birth of the lead screw, but it’s difficult to say. Lead screws have served many uses throughout the years, including various jacks, machine slides, and vises.

With this history of lead screws and their development, we learn how useful and necessary this tool is in the world around us. Wedin International is a leading lead screw supplier for many of today’s mechanical operations. Like the Greeks, our manpower can help you create the perfect part for your industry’s evolving demands.