Lignum Vitae (L V) saw, yard No 647, c 1805.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Saw made by Henry Maudslay (1771-1831) used for cutting a segment from a log of Lignum Vitae (a resilient dense hardwood from the West Indies or South America) in order to make a sheave. A sheave, or pulley, is an integral part of a pulley block used in the management of the sails of ships. The development of the pulley block was fundamental to the workings of a ship as it meant heavier loads could be carried with less power. Increasing the number of pulleys increased the weight that could be moved.