French apparatus for lowering and erecting the Luxor Obelisk, 19th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraved plate showing a vertical projection of lifting gear, from 'Egyptian Obelisks' by Henry H Gorringe, (New York, 1882). The Luxor Obelisk was one of two erected by Rameses II (1304-1237 BC) at the Luxor Temple in Egypt. The obelisk was given to France by Egypt and erected in Paris in the Place de la Concorde in 1836. French engineer Jean-Baptiste Apollinaire Lebas (b 1797) designed the lifting gear which consisted of a wooden frame with a system of ropes and pulleys. The obelisk is made of red granite, weighs about 220 tons and is over 22 metres tall.