First Use of the Wheel?

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First Use of the Wheel?

Postby gunny » Sat Jun 23, 2007 6:16 am

What & when was the first evidence of the wheel used?
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Postby gunny » Sat Jun 23, 2007 6:23 am

It is very strange with obvious contact with middle eastern seamen that Mexico and middle America only used the wheel on toys.
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Postby Rokcet Scientist » Sat Jun 23, 2007 7:00 am

gunny wrote:It is very strange with obvious contact with middle eastern seamen that Mexico and middle America only used the wheel on toys.


Quite a number of dimes never dropped, in the Americas, in the holocene.
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Postby Digit » Sat Jun 23, 2007 9:15 am

Without suitable draft animals, what use the wheel? The fact that the wheel was used on toys shows that these people were aware of it.
If you eliminate wagons etc all you are left with are effectivle baby carriages and wheel barrows, and both need a decent road surface.
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Postby Rokcet Scientist » Sat Jun 23, 2007 9:43 am

Digit wrote:
Without suitable draft animals, what use the wheel?



A trained man can pull 100kg cargo – e.g. commercial goods – on a wheeled cart for dozens of miles in a day. And can probably do it for a couple days in a row.
A trained man can carry maybe 30kg – primarily personal goods – for maybe 1 dozen miles in a day. And then he'll have to rest for 2 or 3 days.

That's the use of a wheel.

Digit wrote:
The fact that the wheel was used on toys shows that these people were aware of it.



The fact that the idea, while in front of their eyes, was not applied as 'grown up' tools imo says something about the – clearly limited – level of reasoning, of abstraction, that those people were capable of.

Digit wrote:
If you eliminate wagons etc all you are left with are effectivle baby carriages and wheel barrows, and both need a decent road surface.



Road surface or not, give me a wheeled cart anytime. Seen the dames schlepp their shopping trollies up the escalators...?
I wouldn't exactly call that a smooth road surface. Still many dames clearly aren't fazed by the terrain and prefer the wheeled trollies anyway!
Why? Well, the ladies are obviously in gathering mode and the wheels allow them to drag much more bounty more conveniently to their caves than plastic bags do.
Simple really.
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Postby Digit » Sat Jun 23, 2007 10:46 am

Apart from the fact that your fit man would carry what the elderly ladies block gangways pulling behind them RS, having spent the afternoon with my good lady humping railway ties across uneven ground, try your wheeled vehicle on soft ground and let us know you get on.
Like the other discussion running about arrow heads, people spent time and effort producing them, so must have found it advantageous to do so, likewise pre-Columbian America knew the wheel but did not use it, as far as we know, so why not?
The mechanical advantages of the wheel are, as you correctly point out, considerable, but not if you are faced with steep inclines or declines, deep rivers or boggy ground and no draft animals.
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Postby Rokcet Scientist » Sat Jun 23, 2007 10:53 am

Digit wrote:
The mechanical advantages of the wheel are, as you correctly point out, considerable, but not if you are faced with steep inclines or declines, deep rivers or boggy ground and no draft animals.



"Steep inclines or declines, deep rivers or boggy ground" represent less than 3% of the landsurface of the Americas, Digit. Exactly the same as in the old world.
Moot point.

But you can disect that. Let's take water: if there's so much water in the Americas (prohibiting the use of wheels) then why didn't American peoples develop sailing in any significant way? With sails catching the winds for propulsion?
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Postby kbs2244 » Sat Jun 23, 2007 11:03 am

The wheel is, for sure, for hard, somewhat dry, and somewhat flat ground, without a lot of trees. Savannas and deserts. Add draft animals and you have a winning combination.
I believe the first use as land transportation arguments go back and forth between Mesopotamia and China.
If you count rope around a pulley or a log used as a roller as use of wheels then Egypt and even Ethiopia/Sudan may come into the argument as well.
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Postby Digit » Sat Jun 23, 2007 11:09 am

My point entirely RS, why didn't they?
Were they too stupid, was there some theological objection, did they not have to move substantial loads? As I pointed out, they knew the wheel so why did they go no further. The connection appears to be the lack of suitable animals, when I suggested inclines etc perhaps I should not have suggested steep ones. I live at the base of a Cwm here in Wales and pushing a load up the hill is damn near as hard as controlling it down hill, and that on metaled roads.
No, they had a reason.
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Postby Rokcet Scientist » Sun Jun 24, 2007 4:40 pm

Digit wrote:
No, they had a reason.



I submit they literally lacked reason.
Would religious objections – especially such absurd, impractical, and inconvenient ones as this would be – have held unchanged for ten thousand years?
Very unlikely imo.
They simply never made the connection. Some dimes never dropped.
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Postby Digit » Mon Jun 25, 2007 1:47 am

Mongol herders still use both Travois and wheels, depending on load and terrain.
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Postby zale » Mon Jun 25, 2007 5:52 am

Uhhh, if lack of roads is a problem to using wheels, wouldnt BUILDING roads solve that problem?

Also, are the llamas really useles in pulling a cart mounted on wheels?
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Postby Beagle » Mon Jun 25, 2007 6:54 am

The road to Chaco Canyon is a very good road. Straight as an arrow too. I think there are three of them. The Native Americans used the rivers for their roads however.

Wheels are more practical in flat arid environments. In a rain environment, one spends as much time getting out of the mud as anything else, as the early pioneers found out.
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Postby Minimalist » Mon Jun 25, 2007 8:15 am

It's not only the "wheel." You also have to invent the "axle." One wheel is of precious little use to anyone.
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Postby kbs2244 » Mon Jun 25, 2007 8:32 am

Building roads is very labor and money intensive.
You need a centralized goverment that sees the need and can collect the needed taxs and labor.
"Trails" can be commonly used paths by wheeled wagons. In the U S we can still see the ruts of some of the trails used in the westward movment.
But they are across hard, dry, treeless ground.
When you get to the mountians, finding a route wide enough and with a grade low enough to pull a loaded wagon through can be a problem.
Arn't they still using sheep and goats as pack animals in Tibet to bring salt south into India and gold back north? They are the only animals that can follow the paths through the mountians.
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