Archimedes screw was purportedly developed in order to remove the bilge water. Archimedes' machine was a device with a revolving screw-shaped blade inside a cylinder. It was turned by hand, and could also be used to transfer water from a low-lying body of water into irrigation canals. The Archimedes screw is still in use today for pumping liquids and semifluid solids such as coal and grain. The Archimedes screw described in Roman times by Vitruvius may have been an improvement on a screw pump that was used to irrigate.

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