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What is a Trebuchet?  It is a siege weapon used in the Middle Ages used to smash walls or to throw projectiles over those walls!  There were actually two versions of the Trebuchet – a counter weight Trebuchet and a traction Trebuchet.  The counter weight Trebuchet was the “improved’ version and showed up in both Muslim and Christian empires around the twelfth century.  For a picture of one from the middle ages, click here.

We are studying the Middle Ages in History this year.  I have one son who loves to design and build things.  He heard about trebuchets from a friend, did some research and now we have a smaller version sitting in our back yard.

Getting ready to lauch!

Garrett was not sure it would work so when he went to try it out the first time, he didn’t want anyone watching.  But as soon as he knew it worked, we heard, “My trebuchet works – the rock went 8 yards!”

That seemed decent for a first attempt, but he was not satisfied and said, “No that is not very good, it should go at least 100 yards.  I think I need to change the angle of ascent.”

When we were allowed to watch a demonstration, the rock was being thrown  about 10 yards.  Once he figured out that it needed to be anchored and added bricks to hold it in place so that when energy was distributed, all the energy could go towards throwing the rock instead of stabilizing and throwing, the distance was doubled.

The Trebuchet in action - one happy boy!

Garrett is still working to improve the distance that the Trebuchet can throw the rock – but so far the results are impressive.  He will continue to work on it until our Medieval Feast and then he will demonstrate it to all who are gathered to celebrate the end of our first quarter!