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Jacques Heyman and Francis Woodman

A slender, turret-like projection employed universally as an architectural feature, particularly associated with Gothic architecture from the 13th to the 16th centuries, where it was used decoratively on such features as parapets and gables, and with some structural purpose on buttresses.

Jacques Heyman

A pinnacle placed on a buttress provides stability at the head of the pier, counteracting the tendency towards sliding failure caused by the force exerted on the pier by the flier. The relatively small weight of a pinnacle increases the frictional force along the potential lines of slip, effectively locking the stones together. The pinnacle can do little to prevent a buttress from overturning completely under the action of the thrust delivered by the flier. In fixing the stability of the head of the pier, the line of action of the pinnacle is immaterial, so that it can be placed towards the outside of the main buttress, where its small effect on the overall stability will be even further diminished....