The History of Bearings | The Development of the wheel
In the fight with the forces of nature, Man improved his chances of survival by learning how to handle tools. He used tools and devices for scraping and cutting, for pressing and grinding, for drilling and hammering and many other activities. Man also learned how to use the power of fire. He built weapons for hunting and for defense of his habitat.
THE WHEEL GETS THINGS ROLLING
The wheel is said to be at least six thousand years old. The origin of the wheel and cart is assumed to be in Central Asia. Archaeological finds indicate that the wheel were used in Mesopotamia, the region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, as early as in the fourth millennium B.C.
It has not been proven whether wheels and carts of that time were mainly used for mastering pure transportation problems or only for religious purposes
The wheel had, however a special importance, since in ancient religions it was the symbol for the life-giving sun.
The importance the wheel has had for man and the development of his civilizations and culture cannot be overrated.
It is fascinating and instructive to trace the importance of the cart and wheel for the propagation of very advanced early civilizations, from the Near East to India, China, Europe and Africa and to follow the development from the primitive two-wheeled ox-drawn cart, to the rapid chariot of the Assyrians and Romans, up to the motorized vehicle of today.
In this connection it must also be mentioned that in ancient times wheels were not only used for carrying the vehicle, but also in gears , and not only in simple transmission gears.
More then two thousand years ago, a south-pointing chariot was developed in China with a complicated differential gear.