Rolling through the ages
© Getty
October 2021

Rolling through the ages

By Volker Paulun
It’s still unclear who invented it and how it evolved. Even so, it’s one of the world’s most important inventions and has been making the everyday lives of humans easier for nearly 6,000 years: the wheel.

With its help, the efficiency of hauling goods and construction materials as well as people was enhanced significantly. Rotating potter’s wheels are regarded as a possible source of inspiration. For a long time, pictorials created in Mesopotamia around 3500 BC were regarded as the oldest proof of the utilization of wheeled vehicles. More recent discoveries, though, show that chariots were used in many places in Central Europe such as Schleswig-Holstein in Germany and Southern Poland at the same time. Since its beginnings, the wheel has evolved from a stone disc to spoked woo- den wheels to low rolling resistance tires of electric cars. However, not all wheeled vehicles – such as the monobike pictured here – gained traction.