Wedge (mechanics)

Wedge
Splitting wood with a hammer and wedge

A wedge is a simple machine used mainly to separate two objects.[1] A wedge as a tool is used to push two things apart such as the blade of a knife does when it cuts wood.[2] A wedge can also be used to lift an object or hold an object in place. The mechanical advantage of a wedge depends on the ratio of its length to its thickest part.

History

The origin of the wedge is unknown, because it has been in use as early as the Stone Age. Circa 3000 BC, in Ancient Egypt quarries, bronze wedges were used to break away blocks of rock used for construction. Wood wedges, that swelled after being wet, were also used. Some Native American tribes used antler wedges as a means of splitting and working wood to make canoes, houses, and other wood objects.

A wedge used to lift a block of stone
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