We live in a modern world with access to sophisticated technology. It has made life easier. Do you know the invention of the wheel became a turning point for modern civilization? Many historians give credit to the wheel for the innovations. The wheels became a blessing for the man. Today, it has high significance in transportation.
The world has become a global village due to the ease of travel. You have modern transportation options using the wheel to cover long distances within no time. Are you interested in knowing more about the hallmark invention that changed the course of history? Here are some vital things you need to know:
1. Timeline Of Wheel Invention
Checking the history of the wheel, experts believe the invention may have happened around 3,5000 BCE. The wheel gets the distinction of being one of the earliest inventions. But, experts believe it arrived after pottery, woven cloth, agriculture, and boats.
The invention of the wheel may have happened during the early bronze age. The earliest wheels had a different structure. These wheels made of wood had a hole in place of the axle.
2. It Is A Invention Of Homo Sapiens
If you have observed history closely, you may find that most inventions have nature’s inspirations. For example, the airplane invention occurred after getting inspired by the gliding birds. Similarly, the table fork and pitchfork idea came from the forked sticks. The wheel is an exception to this. Homo Sapiens invented the wheel without any reference from nature.
According to an article published in The American Naturalist, Michael LaBarbera supports the claim. The biology and anatomy professor at The University of Chicago mentioned that only some organisms came close to resembling the wheel. The dung beetles, bacterial flagella, and tumbleweeds use rolling to move from one place to the other.
3. The Wheel Inventor
Unlike other breakthrough inventions, the wheel has no specific inventor. It is not like a lightbulb or the telephone with a known person getting credit for inventing wheels. According to the archaeological evidence, the presence of the wheel dates back to more than five thousand years ago. Hence, historians have found no clear record of the name of the person(s) who invented wheels.
It appears that Sumerian people in the lower Mesopotamia used the wheel. Sumerians used solid wood discs to insert rotating axles for pottery and transportation. In 2000 BC, the lighter wheel came into existence after hollowing the wooden discs. However, historians have found earlier evidence of wheeled carts in China and Europe.
4. Use Of Wheel For Capital Punishment
Do you know people in Middle Ages used wheels for capital punishment? The punishment named breaking on the wheel has medieval standards. The person subjected to this punishment suffered torture. Often, it involved stretching the person on the wheel. The person experienced bludgeoning or pounding using a hammer. An archaeological excavation in Milan found evidence of a person who died due to breaking on the wheel.
You can also find another variation in the story of St. Catherine. Saint Catherine of Alexandria experienced breaking of wheel punishment. Hence, people call the breaking wheel Catherine Wheel. People consider St. Catherine as the patron saint of wheelwrights.
5. The First Patent Of The Wheel
It is interesting that the wheel invented centuries earlier got a patent only in 1791. James Macomb has the distinction of receiving the first patent as per the records from the US patent office. He received the patent for a design to enable hydropower. The invention of the horizontal hollow water wheel got a patent a year after the passing of the US Patent Law. Unfortunately, the records related to the patent got destroyed in a fire. But, the US Patent Office acknowledges issuing the patent to James Macomb.
6. Modern Uses Of The Wheel
The invention of the wheel has changed the world for good. In the modern world, wheels perform several functions. It includes:
Tires For Modern Transportation Modes
The function of the wheel remains unchanged. Like centuries before, modern transportation mediums make use of the wheel. But, its construction has changed from the simple wheels made of wood. Today, you can see all kinds of tired for trucks, motorcycles, cars, and bicycles. Tire manufacturers have introduced specialized tires designed for snow, ice, and rough terrain.
Generation Of Hydroelectric Power
Watermills having hydropower structures known as turbines can help generate hydroelectric power. The watermills have a wheel structure with blades along the rim. Such a structure with wheels known as turbines can also generate power from wind.
A wheel-like structure, the spinning wheel can spin thread from natural fibers. The device invented in India can spin thread strands from wool, cotton, and flax. The spinning frame and spinning jenny have replaced the spinning wheel. But, it continues to have prominence in India.
This navigational instrument has a pair of gimbals and a spinning wheel. You can access modern versions of the gyroscope in accelerometers and compasses.
What started as a simple invention has become a vital aspect of daily life. You cannot imagine going from one place to another on foot. Modern transportation has simplified traveling. We need to thank wheels for this comfort. A day does not go by without seeing the wheels. It has allowed ease of carrying the load. Wheels also have given hope to immobile people with wheelchairs. The wheel has high significance and remains one of the most prominent innovations. Every person must feel thankful for the invention of the wheel.