Download Another Look At Atlantis and Fifteen Other Essays by Willy Ley PDF

By Willy Ley

Speculative essays on topics of technological know-how and common background.

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Extra info for Another Look At Atlantis and Fifteen Other Essays

Sample text

A The lock of Pliilons catapult. jerk or blow was, of weapon since it would spoil the aim. The crossbow makers of the Middle Ages came up with a different mechanism that is usually referred to as the "revolving nut" (Fig. 17). While the crossbow is being mechanism involving a sudden course, impossible with a portable bent, or tion wound shown up, or cocked, the revolving nut has the posi- at left. slowly turns it The until it string of the bow, still being tensed, has reached the position shown at which point a steel piece at the bottom goes into action and locks it.

British writers, as a rule, While and seem saying all this, most crossbow must have been a fairly themselves— that the recent invention at the time the Lateran Council adjourned. Since crossbows existed at a sume that the much earlier time, weapon achieved around the year 1100, impression— writers create the to be under that impression a leading it is certain that is logical to as- sudden surge in popularity to it ecclesiastical measures. Such sudden surges are usually the result of an improvement of some kind, and the most likely improvement for that period was the introduction of a steel bow instead of a wooden bow.

The picture shows the starting position and it is quite obvious German crossbow with Fig. 18. how the lever worked. But then, cocking lever tliat gave support while shooting. once the crossbow was cocked, the lever (which could also be detached completely) was folded down over the front end to provide a support. With a 30-inch lever the support too short for shooting while standing, but length for shooting from Since crossbows of the a it had was just the right kneeling position. more powerful types had ranges up to 350 yards, especially when shot by the defenders of a castle or a walled city who had the advantage of an elevation of thirty feet or more over the attackers, the siege engines that were the descendants of the euthytonon and palintonon had to have a slightly longer range, say 400 yards or better.

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