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A wheelbarrow is a human-driven cart with a single wheel at its front. Unlike cars, a wheelbarrow’s design is specifically for conveniently transporting loads from one place to another, by sheer human effort.
Goods were moved from place to place in the olden days by animals or humans; but, with the evolution of human civilization, modern ways of transporting goods has evolved.
Goods like stone, bricks, harvested crops, wood, and mine tailings are examples of the types of load that a wheelbarrow can carry.
The First Wheelbarrow
You can trace the first wheelbarrow to China. Wheelbarrows’ creation dates back to 100 CE, which is during the Han dynasty. Illustrations of this compound machine are in a tomb near Chengdu, in Sichuan Province.
In the paintings, a man lifts and pushes the wheelbarrow forward by it’s handles. The design, function, and manner of driving by of the wheelbarrow are still very similar to those found in our current civilization.
The wheelbarrow’s invention took place in 231 CE, and it was by a man named Zhuge Liang. At the time, Shu Han was at war with Cao Wei. Shu Han needed a way for one person to quickly move huge loads and ammunition into the battleground to win the war. So it’s no surprise that his inspiration was from his desire to improve China’s military technology. He went through several designs before he arrived at the idea of a “wooden ox” with a single wheel.
Due to how much the wheelbarrow idea would affect how the war would play out, Shu Han tried their best to keep the genius invention to himself to not jeopardize their win.
The European Wheelbarrow
Although the Chinese wheelbarrow was the first created, the Europeans later had the same idea of creating a vehicle that would make labor faster and more straightforward. Although, unlike the Chinese barrow, the European vehicle’s purpose was to transport small items over a short distance.
The wheelbarrow’s progression from China to Europe isn’t known, and the little that is, isn’t accurate. The beliefs that Arab traders were responsible for carrying wheelbarrows into the middle east is quite popular. They were said to have taken it along with them during the crusade.
If you’re looking for more information, you can read more on how to hang a wheelbarrow
Another belief associated with the wheelbarrow is that the Ancient Greeks and Romans were the civilization that might have given Europe its wheelbarrow idea. Ancient Greeks and Romans invented/used it for moving construction materials and agricultural produce like stones and sheaves of corn.
After the Roman empire’s fall, the wheelbarrow might have stayed in Byzantium, where the Crusaders probably picked it up.
How a Wheelbarrow works
The wheelbarrow design applies the fundamental laws of physics. The cart’s wheel is strategically in its center, and the load carrying mechanism adopts a pannier-fashion on each side or its top.
This compound machine consists of two essential parts; a lever and a wheel axle. The user’s job is to push and control the wheelbarrow, but the wheel primarily does the rest.
When one applies effort by pushing the wheelbarrow’s handles, the level, in turn, applies force upward to the load. The level increases the amount of energy, which makes the items easier to lift.
The wheel must rollover the ground for the axle to turn. A turning axle means an increase in the force one needs to push his/her load.
How to Maintain a Wheelbarrow
For 100% functionality, you must take care of and regularly maintain your wheelbarrow. Maintaining wheelbarrows isn’t a difficult task, all one needs to keep their barrow healthy is sandpaper, non-abrasive cleaning liquid, and lubricant.
Here are some steps to follow to ensure your wheelbarrow stays rust-free:
Sand and Lubricate Your Handles
The handles of a wheelbarrow are the most overlooked part of any tool, whether wheelbarrow or hoe. To prevent damages from ill Maintenance from affecting your handles, get sandpaper, and give them a new lease.
You can also use linseed or any lubricant to oil them, but with this alternative nature, always ensure the handles dry before you store them.
Scrape and Wash The Dirt From Your Barrow
Due to the crucial role this part plays, it is prone to getting dirty quickly. It is always advisable to wash and dry the barrow immediately after every use, but after a hard day’s work, washing is rarely the thing on one’s mind.
Lubricate The Wheel and Axle
You can keep your wheel and axle working efficiently by regularly lubricating and drying it.
Wheelbarrows have existed and been in use by the human race for years, and from the looks of things, wheelbarrows aren’t going away anytime soon.