50 Interesting Facts About The Wheel

Last updated on June 16th, 2021

41. The wheel was actually patented in Australia. In May 2001, a patent lawyer named John Keogh applied for a patent for what he called a “circular transportation facilitation device”. This happened after Australia introduced a new system for patents. Keogh’s act was not out of greed but to prove that the system was flawed.

42. Although the wheel had many uses that spelled progress, it also figured in some highly questionable and cruel practices. During the Middle Ages, a punishment known as “breaking on the wheel” was imposed on criminals and anyone considered a violator of known law. The person might be wrapped over a spiked wheel and allowed to roll on the ground or tied across the wheel to be bludgeoned to death.

43. The wagon wheel effect also occurs in real life even in continuous light. Scientists believe it may be either due to the human brain functioning in the same way as a camera or due to perceptual rivalry. The latter happens when the brain produces two interpretations of a scene.

44. A shape-shifting wheel was invented by Ground X-Vehicle Technologies of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). The wheel is meant to be used for defense vehicles and can change shape, from round to triangular to adjust to different terrains.

45. A rubber material has been invented that has the ability to self-heal. If used as a rubber tire, this material will help ensure safer driving even after a tire had been punctured or cut.

Goodyear Tires Sign
Goodyear Tires Sign. Image credit – Mike Mozart

46. On the subject of invention, Goodyear announced its plan to create an advanced wheel design that is not only powered by AI (artificial intelligence) but also spherical. It is seen as the wheel that will power future autonomous vehicles.

47. The invention of the wheel is considered so important that it borders on the sacred. This is why the expression “re-inventing the wheel” is often used in derision. What it comes down to is that improvements may be done to something but these do not necessarily make the object more useful.

48. The word wheel evolved from hweol or hweogol, and Old English word that means to revolve. The Old English term itself came from the Proto-Germanic term hwehwlan or hwegwlan.

49. If the wheel was never invented, the world would be a very different place. The wheel has inspired many of the technologies we now enjoy today, including CDs, steering wheels, jet engines, propellers, grinding wheels, gears, and turbines.

50. The wheel does not exist in Nature. What this means is that its shape and form are not present naturally. As such, it is truly a genuine man-made invention borne out of creativity and need.