Just like other simple machines, the origins of the pulley are not known. Around 1500 B.C., the Mesopotamians are believed to have used rope pulleys to hoist water. The first documented pulley machine was the block and tackle pulley system developed by Archimedes.
The pulley is a simple machine that is basically a wheel on an axle with a groove in which to seat a rope or a cable. It is used to change the direction of an applied force that is needed to lift a particular object. The force that is exerted in order to lift an object can reduced, provided that the force must act from a longer distance otherwise the force that will be required is equal to the force required without the pulley system. The pulley machine has a lot of modern-day applications and these can be found in cranes, airplanes and automobiles.
The pulley system created by Archimedes was documented by Plutarch, which was a block and tackle type of pulley system. According to Plutarch, Archimedes using his version of the block and tackle pulley system, was able to move an entire warship with men using only his own strength. Apart from the block and tackle pulley system, the other types of pulleys include the fixed pulley, the movable pulley and the compound pulley.