Forgotten Technology: Man Lifts 20 Ton Block By Hand

man lifts 20 ton block by hand

Has the mystery of how the Great Pyramids or Stonehenge was built bothered you since you first learned of them as a kid? Well, this Michigan man may have figured it out. This is how a man lifts 20-ton blocks around his yard with just simple wooden tools and gravity.

Man Lifts 20 Ton Block Without Use of Modern Tools

Retired carpenter Wally Wallington of Michigan has made a name for himself as the man who lifts 20-ton blocks without relying on modern tools or technology. His method was one that he figured out during his 35 years of experience working in construction. (1)

There were many times throughout his career that he had to improvise tools and methods in order to get a job done. One of those times was more than 20 years ago when he had to move some 1200 pound concrete blocks from a floor.

He and his team didn’t have a machine that could reach some of the blocks, and the only option seemed to be to break them into smaller chunks and load them into wheelbarrows. This, of course, was time and labor-intensive, so he came up with an alternative solution.

“Using a few rocks and leverage, I removed the blocks from below the floor to an area that the machine could reach them for removal. After doing this several times, the technique became very easy and quick. This experience had me consider the possibility that people may have used this technique before modern-day equipment was available.” (1)

A Retirement Discovery

Retired nine years later, Wallington decided to continue to explore this technique that he had used nearly a decade earlier.

“I brought home a one-ton block of concrete from a job. Once I got home, I realized that I had to use my techniques to get the block off the truck. After unloading, I found that my technique allowed me to move the block around the yard with very little effort.” (1)

Once he mastered the one-ton block, he began challenging himself with heavier and heavier ones.

“Within a few months time, I was moving, rolling, standing on end, and stacking them on top of each other.” (1)

He made a few discoveries of what he was capable of working alone without much effort. He found that he could (1):

  • Move a 2400 pound block 300 feet per hour
  • Move a 10,000-pound block at 70 feet per hour
  • Stand two 8 feet, 2400 pound blocks on their ends and place another 2400 pound block on top, taking about two hours per block

All of this he did without the use of wheels, rollers, pulleys, or hoisting equipment. (1)

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A Mystery Solved?

There are several theories as to how Stonehenge and the Pyramids were built all those thousands of years ago. Some researchers have suggested these ancient people used slides to move the giant stones, others theorized the use of oxen. 

Many people have put forward the theory of extraterrestrial involvement, though of course there is no solid evidence to back this up. (2)

Wallington has found that not much more than simple wooden tools and gravity are necessary to move the gargantuan stones. You don’t need anything rigid, you don’t need to lift any weight. It’s really just physics. (1)

A Lesson in Physics

According to Wallington, the heavier an object is, the easier it actually is to balance it. From there, it is just a simple law of physics. (1) Wallington explains it succinctly on his website:

“Since mass has to obey the laws of physics, it resists movement and once it is set in motion it resists change. Also, once a weight is close to balance on a single point, rotation can be initiated and the object becomes stable. The more weight, the more inertia, the more inertia, the more stable, therefore the heavier the better.

Additional weight or leverage is used and can be shifted so the weight can be balanced on more than one fulcrum. For horizontal movement the fulcrum is also a pivot. Since leverage is not used under the object it does not interfere with motion.

In the classes of levers, the lever is always in contact with the fulcrum, input, and the load. When I am using leverage or weight as input, it only comes in contact with the load and the load rests on the fulcrum. Therefore, the load is my lever.” (1)

A Solution Unknown

Wallington’s method for moving large stones across long distances and then erecting large structures using them certainly is a possible technique ancient people could have used to build these famous monuments. We have no way of actually knowing if they used this method, but it is definitely fun to think about. (2)

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