Imagine a world without wheels. We would have to find an alternative way to drive our vehicles around, our steering "wheels" would likely be steering "squares," and we wouldn't even be able to fly to our destinations in the same way anymore. After all, airplanes have to taxi into position before taking off. The wheel is considered to be one of the oldest and most important inventions in the world.
The origins of the wheel can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia in the 5th millennium BC where it was first used as a potter's wheel. Evidence of the wheel can also be found in ancient China and ancient India. Even the western hemisphere created wheel like toys for their children back in 1500 BC.
From ancient times to modern times the wheel has changed the way we do everything. From transportation such as bikes, trains, and automobiles, to how we work such as dollies, pushcarts and pallet jacks we have significantly improved our quality of life throughout the ages.
Long ago, carts were often named after the animal that pulled them (i.e., horse carts, ox carts, and even dog carts). Carts have a variety of uses, but they have always had one primary role -- transporting items from one place to another. The invention of the cart would be useless without the advent of the wheel. In the modern world, cart wheels have the ability to maneuver in 360 degrees making it much easier to transport hard to move materials. However, ancient carts did not have wheels that turned 360 degrees which made navigating them more difficult. Regardless, thanks to the wheel carts have greatly improved the lives of humankind over the centuries.
During ancient times we were limited to horses and wagons when traveling by land. Now we can travel along highways at speeds that exceed 100 MPH in our cars, trucks and motorcycles. The invention of the wheel has dramatically increased our ability to travel back and forth to our destinations.
During ancient times wheels were made of stone and wood. In modern society car wheels are composed of a metal wheel and a rubber tire, allowing us to travel quickly and with great maneuverability. Never before has man been able to travel as quickly as we do in modern times and it's all thanks to the wheel.
The wheel has somehow found its way into nearly every facet of our society thus improving processes and making our lives easier overall. For example, we have enhanced production facilities by introducing rollers onto assembly lines. Steering wheels allow us to navigate and maneuver our vehicles easily. Hair rollers are used for specific hairstyles.
Wheels have even transformed hospitals due to wheelchairs, hydraulic stretchers, and a variety of carts used to transport medicine and tools. The wheel has completely changed every industry on the planet in one capacity or another.
Long gone are the days where we were forced to plow fields through manual power. Nowadays we can use heavy duty machinery such as tractors to simplify our farming needs. Tractor wheels are often massive and have special grooves that allow them to navigate rough outdoor terrains.
When it comes to industrial work, forklifts have proven to be indispensible. Forklifts have greatly improved our ability to transport bulky goods in warehouses, dockyards, and lumber yards. Forklift wheels vary depending on the environment, but each wheel type is designed to allow the forklift to operate at peak capacity. Our modern day machinery wouldn't be the same without heavy duty wheels to allow them to transport materials in various work environments. You can even think of pallet jack wheels and dolly wheels which allow an individual to transport heavy machinery back and forth by themselves. Simply put, wheels make us more productive.
As you can see, the world has been completely transformed by the invention of the wheel. Every aspect of our lives involves a wheel of some kind which is why many people consider the wheel to be the most important invention mankind has ever seen. From forklifts and forklift wheels to the rollers on a production line the wheel will forever be used as a way to improve our lives and continue pushing us forward.