MECHANICAL ADVANTAGE AND SIMPLE MACHINES
When the term machine is mentioned, most people think of complex items such as an automobile, but, in fact, a machine is any device that transmits or modifies force or torque for a specific purpose. Typically, a machine increases either the force of the person operating it—an aspect quantified in terms of mechanical advantage—or it changes the distance or direction across which that force can be operated. Even a humble screw is a machine; so too is a pulley, and so is one of the greatest machines ever invented: the wheel. Virtually all mechanical devices are variations on three basic machines: the lever, the inclined plane, and the hydraulic press. From these three, especially the first two, arose literally hundreds of machines that helped define history, and which still permeate daily life.