Perhaps the rack is so familiar because it was so commonly employed, variations existing as far back as Egypt and Babylonia. This one is Italian, 1500. 2 It is equipped with spiked rollers on which the stretched victim would lay, feet tied at one end, hands at the other.
Tied to the rack and stretched gradually (or quickly) for days, elongation of bodies was reported by various sources to cases of twelve inches, a result of systematic dislocation of every joint in the body, loud popping sounds mixing with shrieks of agony, futile cries for pity. With the prisoner tied to this horrific device, the inquisitor would then employ a variety of more subtle tortures.
"This is a reconstruction of an inclined ladder. The victim was stretched out on the device until his shoulders dislocated. It was also common for the victim to be burned on the armpits and the flanks with a torch composed of seven wax tapers"