Difference between Trebuchet and Catapult

Trebuchet and Catapult in past and present

Before the industrial revolution became a thing, mankind was still making some great constructions. Back in those days, some of the devices commonly used were Trebuchet and Catapult. Those devices also had a part in warfare.

counterweight trebuchet and torsion catapult finished model with toystub logo board behind

History of Trebuchet

Before we go into the history of the trebuchet, we must understand its purpose. A trebuchet is a type of catapult that we can use to throw a projectile to a longer distance. As the purpose describes, it was a major device in warfare. But it also had a use in construction purposes.

Although it is not in the record books that when we began to use this device. But the initial records date back to the 12th century. We have signs of using something similar in the 6th century. But the experts mention that those devices were different from a trebuchet.

The device that is under the discussion is not based on human power but physics. This device works on a counterweight system. It has a pivot with a long throwing arm and a sling. The other devices that work on a similar system had an invention date from the ancient era of history. However, the trebuchet is not that old, and we have traces from the medieval era.

The most common use that we can see from history for the trebuchet is during wars. It was used during attacks on the strong forts during wars. In the starting days. A trebuchet was the best method to send huge stones to far distances with force without using manpower.

Counterweight Trebuchet description banner with article of Counterweight Trebuchet's back story

History of Catapult

A catapult is a warfare device that is used in wars and battles to launch a weapon to far distance without using gunpowder. The working phenomenon of a catapult is based on physics and does not use a mechanical engineer. The history of a catapult takes us back to the medieval era and it was first in the use of Greeks.

The device uses sudden energy release as a source to launch weapons at a greater distance. The releasing part of the energy is an easier process, and we can understand that in today’s world. But, back in the day, it was a challenge to store the energy on the catapult for later. The different tools that were helping to save the energy on this device were elastic, twisted rope, bows, springs, and other mechanisms.

If we track the early use of the device, we will need to back to the ancient China era. In the 4th century, the catapult was a primary weapon. After the invention, it was a part of the Greek Army.

torsion catapult background story

Difference between Trebuchet and Catapult

A trebuchet is a type of catapult. But there is a difference between these two devices when it comes to the working procedure. We know there is a gap of almost two centuries in the invention of the two devices with Catapult being the original device. However, we have some other differences as well. 

A catapult uses a springy and a large piece of wood. Then the workers wind up that piece of wood thus, giving tension to the wood. As we release the tension from the wood, the arm will pull up and stop at a certain point on the device, thus helping the projectile to launch with force.

However, on the other hand, the trebuchet uses a weight. This weight will pull down the lever arm on the device. This pulling down process will launch the lever arm in the air. There is a sling with the lever arm. As soon as you pull the lever, the sling will help to launch the projectile. If we compare them to catapult, trebuchets can launch the projectile to a greater distance than the catapults.

Trebuchet and Catapult in medieval time

The medieval era is a period in our history in which we were transitioning from the ancient era to the base of the modern recorded era. However, whether it is a modern era or the ancient, mankind has always engaged in battles and wars. Thus, both the trebuchet and the catapult were the primary weapons before the invention of gunpowder weapons.

The traditional version of the trebuchet was first in our use in ancient China in 300 BC. There are traces of the use of this device in that period. However, the trebuchet was introduced in England in the 12th century. The trebuchet needs an expert look due to its shape and design. So, the Chinese made it possible to use the device without any fear.

The trebuchet in the medieval era was deadly and the force having more trebuchets had an edge over their oppositions. A trebuchet could fire nearly 2000 stones in a single day. The missiles launched from these devices were deadly and could cause maximum damage.

Trebuchet and Catapult in modern life

As we constantly going through an evolution, the using scenes of both the trebuchet and catapult are changing rapidly. Nowadays, people are using them for different purposes, the 3D Self-assembling Trebuchet Kit is one of the results in modern life.

6 wooden models with multi-books banner

  • Ideal gift idea of all ages

People are using the 3D trebuchets kit as a gift for their families and loved ones, especially for those who enjoy DIY projects. As well it’s a perfect stem toy for kids. Assembling these wooden trebuchet and catapult kits can be a great way for families to collaborate on a challenging project and spend time together.

  • Educational Tool

The catapult models are used as educational objects, especially for STEM development. Putting these pieces together helps the students understand constructions of the past, thus, helping in enhancing their creativity hand-eye coordination.

  • Great Home and Desktop Decoration

Almost all the people in today’s modern society have anticipation for antique products. Building up your unique catapult and trebuchet model definitely can be an excellent way to decorate your home and desktop.

  • Entertainment

In some areas, the citizens use these devices on many events like pumpkin chucking festivals. Also, Hollywood is eying on these devices and brought a trebuchet to life in the famous Game of Thrones series. So, trebuchets are helping us in the entertainment field as well.


Trebuchet and Catapult are the devices that were used in the past in battles. These devices have a similar build but different working procedures. The catapult is an older device invented in the 4th century. Trebuchet is a relatively older device, but it can launch the projectile to a greater distance. These days, people are using these devices for entertainment, educational, and decoration purposes.

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