||[Saturday 12th October 2013 at 11:13 pm]
A while back I discovered a site that every day reposts an entry from Samuel Pepys' diary (there's a feed of it here at pepysdiary). The entries appear in real time (one day each day, at the end of the day), so it's almost as if it's a window into the LiveJournal of the 1660's. It even has much the same content as a modern-day blog.
Anyway, yesterday's entry has a description of some sort of collection of water pumping machines at St James's Park (perhaps the 1660 version of a civil engineering project or some sort of demonstration?), with this wonderful description of an Archimedes' Screw:
...which is one round thing going within all with a pair of stairs round; round which being laid at an angle of 45 deg., do carry up the water with a great deal of ease.
It took me a few moments to work out what this was - I never would have thought to describe it as a spiral staircase around a cylinder, and yet that's exactly what an Archimedes' Screw is. The 17th century grammar is vaguely reminiscent of xkcd's Up Goer Five as well.