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THE MOST IMPORTANT INVENTION ? WHEEL

Autor: Monika
E-mail: vaskovicova@pobox.sk

A lot of people consider the idea of being the wheel the best invention very silly and illogical. Why wheel and not paper, zip or chip? Isn?t it a little bit primitive? Maybe yes maybe no. It depends on the way of your thinking. Just imagine this situation. Without the wheel most of the world's work would stop. Automobiles, trains, streetcars, farm machines, wagons, and nearly all factory and mine equipment would be useless. On land, loads would be moved only by carrying them or by using sledges or the backs of animals. There wouldn?t be 12 hours trips to your grandmother or early comings to the school, because there won?t be cars or watches.
How log did it take to develop the idea of computer? I don?t know ? maybe 100 or 200 years. And how many years did it take to invent a wheel? It was a pretty long time, much longer than to develop the computer. Most scientists believe that the wheel was invented 5000 years ago. The oldest wheel known was discovered in Mesopotamia and is believed to date back 55 centuries.
A Sumerian (Erech) pictograph, dated about 3500 BC, shows a sledge equipped with wheels. The idea of wheeled transportation may have come from the use of logs for rollers, but the oldest known wheels were wooden disks consisting of three carved a planks clamped together by transverse struts.
Spoked wheels appeared about 2000 BC, when they were in use on chariots in Asia Minor. The technique spread quickly throughout much of Europe and Central Asia. It reached China and India in about the mid-2000's B.C. This type of wheel made its appearance in Egyptian chariots of about 2000 BC. At this time, wheels for carrying heavy loads were still of the solid type. The Assyrians probably kept pace with the Egyptians in the use of the wheel. The Greeks picked up the idea for wheels from Egypt and added a few improvements. The Romans developed the greatest variety of wheeled vehicles. They had chariots for war, hunting, and racing, two-wheeled farm carts, covered carriages etc. No trace has been found of wheels in the new World before the coming of Europeans. Why the ingenious Incas and Aztecs failed to make this simple invention no one can tell. The fact that they had no draft animals may be part of the explanation.
So there is quite long history of developing and wide spreading the wheel. We don't know whom to thank for the wheel, but think of what the world would be like without it. No bicycles. No roller-blades. No cars...buses or trains. Days of walking to get from one place to another. No spinning wheel for Sleeping Beauty, no gears, no shopping carts...

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