This section is from the book "Modern Buildings, Their Planning, Construction And Equipment Vol6", by G. A. T. Middleton. Also available from Amazon: Modern Buildings.
The gin-wheel (A, Fig. 213) consists of a cast-iron grooved wheel, a light steel frame, a steel shaft on which the wheel can revolve, and a strong steel hook attached to the top of the frame by which the whole can be suspended. The wheel varies from 8 to 20 inches in diameter, about 14 inches being the size most generally used. The better makers put a brass bush in the bore of the wheel, which arrangement adds considerably to the life of the apparatus, the bush being easily renewable when worn and the shaft remaining practically unaffected.
In using the gin wheel a rope having a steel hook firmly attached to one end is passed through the frame and into the groove. The load intended to be raised is connected to the hook, and the free end of the rope or fall is pulled by hand. No mechanical advantage is obtained by its use, as is the case when pulley blocks are employed, but its great convenience for lifting light loads makes it one of the indispensable pieces of gear needed by every class of builder.
A manilla rope, 1 inch in diameter and 3 or 4 yards longer than twice the height to which the materials are to be lifted, will be found the most suitable.
The gin wheel is not generally used to handle loads of more than 30 to 40 lbs., but up to this limit it is the best hand-power hoist, as no time is lost in gaining power as with pulley-block or chain-block apparatus. Bricks, mortar, water, etc., can be raised by its means to the level at which the men are working, and in house-breaking rubbish can be conveniently lowered direct into carts for removal.