A pulley is a wheel on an axle or shaft that is designed to support movement and change of direction of a taut cable or belt, or transfer of power between the shaft and cable or belt. In the case of a pulley supported by a frame or shell that does not transfer power to a shaft, but is used to guide the cable or exert a force, the supporting shell is called a block, and the pulley may be called a sheave.
A set of pulleys assembled so that they rotate independently on the same axle form a block. Two blocks with a rope attached to one of the blocks and threaded through the two sets of pulleys form a block and tackle.
A block and tackle is assembled so one block is attached to fixed mounting point and the other is attached to the moving load. The ideal mechanical advantage of the block and tackle is equal to the number of parts of the rope that support the moving block.
In the diagram on the right the ideal mechanical advantage of each of the block and tackle assemblies shown is as follows: