People have been working at changing the world we live in ever since we started walking upright. Modern people speak of turning their lives around which means they aim to improve their quality of life in some way.
Where would humanity be without the discovery of the wheel?
Early humans in the Palaeolithic era (15 000 to 750 000 years ago) discovered that heavy objects that had a round shape were easier to move by rolling them. This inevitably led to the realisation that placing a round object, such as a fallen tree trunk, under and irregularly shaped, heavy object made it much easier to move.
The first wheel was developed in approximately 3 500 B.C. in the form of a potter’s wheel. Although many other important discoveries preceded the wheel such at sewing needles, woven cloth, rope, woven baskets and boats, it was the invention of the wheel that facilitated turning modern man away from performing tasks slowly and laboriously by hand and towards mechanisation and mass production.
A wheel works by rolling. Rolling is a powerful way of reducing friction as only a small part of the wheel touches the surface at any given time. This rolling action makes it much easier to move things around. The invention of the wheel-axis combination was a stroke of genius that changed the way people traveled and transported goods.
The wheel was immeasurably important to human development, not only with regards to transportation, but in respect of the development of technology in general. The wheel an important aspect of the development of the spinning wheel, the cogwheel and the waterwheel. More recently, the wheel has contributed towards the invention of the turbine, gyroscope and propeller.
The discover of the wheel-axis combination did not come from nature, it was a totally human invention and is the one discovery that contributed the most to humans turning from the agriculturally focused societies of the pre-Industrial revolution into the modern-day super species that harnesses the power of all natural resources for self improvement. The wheel allowed humans to make advances that freed up their time, enabling them to be more creative in the areas of science, art, maths, music and engineering.
The down side of human development is that we are turning our planet into a cess pit of air, water and land pollution. Hopefully, we will be clever enough to find a way to reverse the damage we are doing to Earth and still retain the benefits that industrialisation and technology have provided to us.
This post was inspired by Sue Vincent’s photo challenge Turning. You can join in the challenge here: https://scvincent.com/2018/09/06/thursday-photo-prompt-turning-writephoto/