A man engine is almost like a moving ladder.
It was used to transport miners to and from the surface and underground. The man engine worked using a wooden pump rod used to pump water out of Cornish mines which moved slowly up and down in the shaft. There were platforms and handles on the side of the shaft with similar platforms and handles on the moving rod. To go up the shaft, the miner would step onto the platform on the rod and ride up to the next platform. Here he would step onto a platform onto the shaft. He would repeat this until he got to the top.