Why Do We Say That Plants Provided Early Man with Ropes?
From the earliest times, ropes have been used for many things – for hunting, pulling, fastening, attaching, carrying, lifting and climbing. The first ropes were probably plants-more specifically, long pieces of vine all twisted and braided together.
The ancient Egyptians made ropes out of water reeds, grass, leather and animal hair in 4,000 B.C. They used these ropes in the construction of their colossal pyramids that still stand today.
In 2,800 B.C., the Chinese made ropes from hemp fibres. After this, rope-making spread throughout all of Asia and Europe. During the Middle Ages, Europeans made very long ropes by tying rope strands between buildings and twisting them. These ropes were used on ships.
Impressions of cordage found on fired clay provide evidence of string and rope-making technology in Europe dating back 28,000 years. Fossilized fragments of “probably two-ply laid rope of about 7 mm diameter” were found in one of the caves at Lascaux, dating to approximately 15,000 BC.
Leonardo da Vinci drew sketches of a concept for a rope-making machine, but it was never built. Nevertheless, remarkable feats of construction were accomplished without advanced technology: In 1586, Domenico Fontana erected the 327 ton obelisk on Rome’s Saint Peter’s Square with a concerted effort of 900 men, 75 horses, and countless pulleys and meters of rope. By the late 18th century several working machines had been built and patented.
Rope was still made from natural fibres until the 1950’s, when synthetic materials started being used. Although thousands of years have passed since rope was first created, the basic principle behind rope making remains virtually unchanged, except for the materials and technology we use.
Today, manila, hemp, linen, cotton, coir, jute, nylon, poly propylene, poly ethylene, kevlar and polyester are all used to make ropes. Metal ropes and barbed wire are also used for Jobs that require more Strength and less flexibility.