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The magic uses of two circles

Updated on April 29, 2013

What is round, can mean many things, and was a vital ingredient in the industrial revolution?

A circle is curve that has neither beginning nor end and thus, it is a infinite loop in 2 dimensions. That such a simple geometric form may actually be the true representation of infinity is by itself a fantastic thought and perhaps a reason why the circle is such a popular symbol.

It is often associated with unity, self, strength, mystery, faith, and more, throughout history and in many cultures.

The circle may be a powerful and mystical symbol.. but guess what happens when you have 2 circles to play with?

Pure magic!

My images

Double circle jewels

One circle may carry a strong symbolic meaning but double it up for even more power. My personal favorites from this collection are the silver and onyx ear-rings.

euclid circle diagram
euclid circle diagram

Things you can do with two circles.

Create a prefect equilateral triangle by positioning two circles so that their outer edges intersect their center points. The triangle is achieved by connecting the center points and one of the intersections between the 2 circles.

Multiply your power by winding a rope over a pulley. This simple device provides the mechanical advantage of halving the weight of a resistance for each turn over a wheel. That is the theory but it does not account for friction.

Depending on the materials used for pulling (rope, chain, etc) and the materials and construction of the wheel (wood, plastics, ball-bearing axle mount, etc) the leveraging effect of each turn will vary. You can have as many wheels and turns on each wheel as you wish. This version of 2 single turns is a "gun tackle".

Increase or decrease the power of a driving circle by connecting it with a circle of a different circumference. In short: achieve the effect of ratio.

If you have a small wheel that is supplying the power, connect it with a larger wheel to gain more rotational speed (as measured on the circumference), or connect a smaller wheel to achieve more power (torque). The wheels can be separate and connected with for example a belt, or they can be placed adjacent (with gears for added friction) or even inside each other.

The magic of ratio is what made the industrial revolution possible. If you see an old image or film of a steam engine with a belt drive, for example to a lumber saw, you will note the different sized wheels used to achieve more speed or power. The gearbox in your can works on the same principle. Clockwork mechanics!

Stand a circle on top of the other and create a number. Eight is the basic numerical system which governs modern computing. 8 is the number you need to make a cube. There are seven magic numbers in physics; eight is one of them.

The form of eight is symmetrical, balanced and beautiful.

I remember when I was eight. I hope to reach 88.

Image sources and more reading at Eucledian geometry, Wikipedia Pulleys, gear ratios

Fashion circles

Android AD52LTD Alien Blue Dial Watch
Android AD52LTD Alien Blue Dial Watch

A weird looking watch but it has a genuine Seiko heart!


Humans have binocular vision. Two circles of colored glass may protect your eyes from harmful sunlight. They make you look good too!

Two wheels instead of one is all it takes to go from a balancing circus-act to the ultimate in eco-friendly transportation that is also beneficial to your health. The Diamondback 29 inch mountainbike is currently a best seller.

The definition of a circle

The King of Infinite Space: Euclid and His Elements
The King of Infinite Space: Euclid and His Elements

Euclid is in many ways what you might call the father of mathematical geometry. This is not modern abstract mathematics, but rather deep thinking from 300 B.C.

It is impressive reading which makes you wonder how on earth they managed to work out so many fundamental sciences at that early time.


Make your own circles

Playing with fire isn't as bad as it sounds and is fun to do, and beautiful to watch. If you want to make multiple fire circles like this chick then you need double fire poi slings with two wickers like the ones shown here.

Do circles have any meaning for you?

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    • siobhanryan profile image


      5 years ago

      Olympics is what circles mean for me Great Lens

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      A continuous stack of connected circles would be either a spring or a screw. Another two important industrial revolution components. Great Lens!


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