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The Little Trebuchet That Could

Home
Science of a Trebuchet
Building a Simple Trebuchet
Materials
Trebuchet Sketch
Construction Photos
Testing Procedures
Meaurements and Calculations
Beastly Changes and Discoveries
Birth of BEAST 2
beast 3
The Designers

A Scientific Study of the Trebuchet
by Raymond Ko and Churao Yang

History of a Trebuchet
 
From about the middle of the thirteenth century, the trebuchet superseded the catapult. The preference for the trebuchet was due to the fact that it was able to cast stones of 300 or more pounds.  In other words, the trebuchet could launch weights that were five or six times as heavy as those the largest catapults could project.

The stones of 50 to 60 pounds thrown by siege catapults would no doubt destroy towers and battlements, as the result of the constant and concentrated bombardment of many engines. One huge stone of 300 pounds slung from a trebuchet would however shake the strongest defensive masonry and easily break through the upper parts of the walls of a fortress.

The trebuchet was essentially an engine for destroying the defences of a fortification, so that it might be entered by means of scaling ladders or in other ways. The trebuchet made by order of Napoleon III., and described in his ' Etudes sur l'artillerie,' had an arm 33 ft. in length with a counterpoise of 10,000 pounds weight to work it. This machine projected a 50 pound cannon-ball 200 yards, but was so lightly constructed that its full power could not be safely applied.

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2005 KoYang Corp.