History of The Wheel

History of The Wheel

The wheel might be the single greatest invention in history. Although the natural world has inspired most inventions, the wheel did not evolve from nature.

The concept of the wheel dates back to the Paleolithic era. Back then, humans used logs as rollers to move around massive objects. These logs were placed underneath the large object, and the large objects rolled over them. The problem with these rollers was that they were required to stay in course. 

Evidence indicates that the standard shape of a wheel didn't take form until 3500 B.C. Instead of being used for transportation purposes, these wheels served as potter’s wheels. The first wheels used for transportation purposes date back to 3200 BC and were used to move the Mesopotamian chariots. 

With the need for greater speed and maneuverability, the Egyptians implemented spoked wheels on their chariots in 2000 BC. The first metal iron rims were not introduced until 1000 BC on Celtic chariots. The spoked wheel remained pretty much unchanged until 1802. G.F. Bauer patented the first wire tension-spoked wheel in the United States. This wired wheel consisted of leather straps or cords secured throughout the rim of the wheel. Over the next few years, this evolved into the suspended spoke wheels seen on bicycles today. 

The iron-spoked wheel for vehicles was not patented until 1826 by Theodore Jones in London, England. Early Ford Model T's used wooden artillery wheels but in 1926 switched to steel welded-spoke wheels. These wheels had pneumatic tires. There is a big difference between those tires and the ones we use today. The tires had a lifespan of around 2,000 miles and would require repairs every 30-40 miles. 

Today, there are two types of wheels for automotive use: steel and alloy. Although they serve the same purpose, they are different and offer a variety of advantages and disadvantages. If you are interested in learning the differences between the wheels, check out this video on steel wheels vs. alloy wheels

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