While the world usually judges a machine regarding its applicability and practicality; anyone who understands the magic of mathematics would appreciate the “Do Nothing Machine.”
Below is a mechanism called the Trammel of Archimedes, or more infamously known as Kentucky do-nothings, nothing grinders and do nothing machines. The mechanism consists of shuttles, enclosed into two perpendicular channels or rails, pivoted at two fixed positions along the rod. The shuttles’ motion along the channel produces an elliptical path.
Though the world may think that the machine is good for nothing; a few people do know that it is used in an ellipsograph. The ellipsograph is a device utilized to draw, cut, and create ellipses, on sheet materials e.g. wood. An ellipsograph uses a pencil, knife or a router attached to the rod to make the elliptical shapes which can then, be modified in size by adjusting the distances a and b between the two axes of the slider joints.
The ellipsographs are believed to date back to the time of Proclus and even to Archimedes, hence, the fancy name. Currently, these devices are used to produce toys and collectible items.
Not so useless after all, is it?