Category Archives: Old Machines

How Trabuco Design Advanced Over The Centuries

The Trabuco was a fascinating siege machine which changed the face of war once it was adopted by armies in the Middle Ages. Prior to the time the Trabuco made an appearance on the field of battle the main siege weapon in use was the catapult. A catapult works by getting the energy they need to fling things forward by gravity. The early Trabuco worked the same way but they were far larger, more accurate, and could throw much bigger stones and other projectiles. The Trabuco also has a sling while a catapult just has something resembling a large wooden spoon. The sling magnifies the power of gravity.

These first Trabuco were called Traction Trabuco. Teams of men would pull on a rope which swung the arm forward, launching the projectiles. This was upgraded about 500 years later when the Counterweight Trabuco was unveiled. Instead of relying on human muscle it used a giant counterweight which added immensely more power than what people could deliver. Both Christian and Muslim armies made use of this device according to While the original Trabuco had first appeared in China and then made its way to Europe, the Counterweight Trabuco went the other way.


Trabuco could be up to 100 feet tall or even more. The primary material used to construct them was wood which was tied together using leather, rope, metal, or whatever was on hand at times. Most Trabuco were immobile and so had to be built where they were to be used. The armies only carried the vital parts of a Trabuco that they wouldn’t be able to construct where they were needed.

In order to raise the counterweight of a Trabuco a few methods were employed. Some used treadwheels while other designs used winches. These devices were aided by block and tackle so that the counterweight couldn’t slip down while it was being raised up. The one drawback to a Counterweight Trabuco, as opposed to a Traction Trabuco, is that the former one took longer to fire another round according to This wasn’t that big of a deal in a long siege battle, though, and since they could deliver projectiles ten times as large it was a worthy tradeoff.


Trabuco Facilitates War In The Early Ages

Trabuco is a war machine that was used in the middle ages. The primary purpose of Trabuco machine was to destroy the enemies’ walls by shooting projectiles. Being a machine that originated from China, Trabuco was assembled from the best brains in the world. In Europe, it was utilized as a terrifying weapon featuring effective and efficient intensity.

Unlike ballistae and catapults on, trabuco is relatively easy to use. The mechanism behind its operation solely relies on a little human effort. Although popular in the ancient societies, trabuco was easily manufactured and maintained. The prominence of this machine also rooted from its ability to shoot heavy projectiles on longer distances. This is a feature that other machines like the catapult and ballistae do not posses.


Trabuco’s mechanism comprises the transformation of gravitational energy to kinetic movement. It is factual that the energy transformation does not occur fully. In fact, a single part of the system dissipates in two different forms of heat as well as sound. Towards this end, the total size of the machine reflects the proportional velocity to project according to This therefore means that when there is a larger weight to counter, the intensity of the projectile will heavily be felt. The effectiveness of the mechanism depends on physical calculations that include potential differences, gravitational as well as kinetic energy. These features are assimilated into directly linked up operations. In the beginning, humans operated trabuco. The specified brand here was the traction trabuco which featured a short beam that would be pulled by people to achieve motion.


In Wu Jing Yao’s documentary on, trabuco was utilized in facilitating military attacks. The machine crushed walls that were 80 meters away. Because of the complexities that came with operating the machine, trabuco was hardly in the market. Traction trabuco was utilized in Middle East. The Arab merchants found it useful in attacking their enemies. Since they highly depended on this machine, they refined its features to suit their battle needs. This was done through reforming the weight of the arm to add extra kilograms. According to the early records on hybrid trabuco, the machine had the ability to heave approximately 400 pounds stones on the walls of Egypt.

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