The Evolution of the Wheel [Infographic]


of the


"It is not the wheel itself, but the problem of rotation, that's dogged our minds for thousands of years."

-John Lienhard, University of Houston

ca. 10000 BCE

Logs were used as rollers to transport heavy objects.

4000 BCE

The potter's wheel was invented in Iraq

ca. 3635-3370 BCE

The earliest well-dated depiction of a wheeled vehicle was found on the Bronocice Pot.

2500 BCE

Early wheels were wooden discs with a square hole in the middle for an attached axle.

In Ancient Iraq, wheels were used for Chariots.

ca. 3300 BCE

The oldest known example of a wooden wheel and its axle was found 20 km south of the capital of Slovenia.

The wheel had a diameter of 72 centimetres (28 in), made of ash wood. The axle was made of oak.

2500 BCE

A depiction of an onager-drawn cart on the Sumerian "battle standard of Ur".

ca. 2000 BCE

Invention of the spoked wooden wheel. A much lighter wheel; first used for War Chariots.

It helped the Egyptians build their empire.

1200 BCE

Egyptian war chariot on a mural in the tomb of Pharaoh Ramesses II.

ca. 1000 BCE

As wheel making became a skill, wheels became valuable. Their rims were protected with leather, wood and iron.

The Celtic chariots introduced the iron rim and heavier construction. This design was so successful it remained unchanged for nearly 3000 years.

300-100 BCE

The Wooden Water Wheel

Invented by the Greeks, still in use today.


The Artillery Wheel

As artillery grew larger, wooden wheels could no longer take the strain.

All metal wheels were introduced, which were also used in early automobiles.


The Steam Locomotive Wheel

The steam engine required far sturdier wheels than ever before.

As metal rims made contact with metal tracks; weights on the wheel were needed to balance the connecting rod.


Wire Spokes

G.F. Bauer registered a patent on the first wire tension spoke.


Pneumatic Tyres

John Dunlop improved upon and patented the air filled tire.

It replaced the hard rubber tires on bicycles.

Michelin first fitted a pneumatic tyre to an automobile.

Today's bike wheel is the descendent of the wire tension spoke and the pneumatic tyre.


Ferris Wheel

The Ferris Wheel was constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr.

It was put on display as a attraction at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.


Steel Rims and Disc Wheels

Steel Disc Wheels returned to a design that had not been popular for over 4000 years.

They were easier to make than spoked wheels.


The Wheel of Fortune

An American game show that gave everyday people the chance to win cash prizes, by spinning a carnival style wheel on national TV.


Alloy Wheels

To reduce the weight of wheels, manufacturers experimented with alloys of metals to replace steel.

Alloy wheels conduct heat better, handle better and look awesome.


Mecanum Wheels

These wheels were designed for robots and vehicles that need to be operated in tight spaces. They allow movement in any direction.

The Hubless Wheel

A hubless wheel consists of a hollow wheel hub with no axle bearing or centre hub.

Designed for motorcycles, they require a chain or belt drive to power them.

The Tweel

An experimental airless tyre from Michelin uses flexible polyurethane spokes to support an outer rim and replicate the shock-absorbing role of a pneumatic tyre.

Active Wheel

Developed by Michelin, the Active Wheel system houses an electric motor and suspension inside the hub of the wheel.

Engaging Infographics

Visually provides on-demand access to the world's top designers and copywriters.

Learn More About Visually Infographics

The Evolution of the Wheel [Infographic]

shared by Neomam on Jan 20, 2013 in Technology

The Evolution of the Wheel [Infographic]

shared by Neomam on Jan 20, 2013 in Technology


2 faves


Have you ever thought about how important the wheel is, and how much impact it has on our everyday lives? From the transport we use to the scroll wheel on our mouse, circular devices rule our lives w...
Source: Unknown. Add a source
Rank: 120 of 11202 in Technology

Published by
Did you work on this visual? Claim credit!

Embed Code

Switch to Wordpress Code
Click below to copy
Customize size