10 July 2010

Invention of the Wheel - Historical Inventions and Ideas Series, Idea 2

The invention of the wheel marks such an important turning point in the development of human society that in English, there is a phrase called "try not to reinvent the wheel," meaning that it's futile to reinvent something that has already been invented. Instead, it would be better to use your resources in other ways.

I was reading that inventing the wheel was not such an easy process. Wheels have first been found roughly at 4000 BC. Therefore, for most of human development, or roughly 190,000 years, humans were without the wheel. It was only with the introduction of paved and flatter roads that the wheel became more conveniently used. On rocky roads, a wheel would actually not perform so well.

Also, the invention of the wheel had to be preceded by an understanding of the concept of a circle. In addition, people had to have rods and axles on which the wheel turned. Although seen everywhere these days, the wheel is truly a one-of-a-kind special invention for the ages.


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