Artist Arthur Ganson's creation called "Machine with Concrete" provides a beautiful illustration of the power of a transmission. Should you input only 1 lb-ft of torque, the other end could deliver 244 quintillion lb-ft.

Ganson's piece demonstrates the unbelievable power which can be generated through simple gear reduction. It uses an electric motor turning at a modest 200 RPM and mates it to 12 identical sets of 1/50th gear reducers for a total reduction of 1/244,140,625,000,000,000,000. Of course no material in the universe could actually deliver that kind of power without shattering into pieces and even if such materials existed, turning only one rotation at that speed would take over two trillion years. It turns so slowly that embedding the final drive in concrete will have no appreciable effect — ever. The universe itself is only about 10 billion years old, and in another 10 billion years the sun will expand into a red giant and consume the Earth anyway, the final drive having complete only 0.5% of one rotation. So what we're saying is dropping this into a Morris Minor will only slightly diminish the acceleration. [Youtube]