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As promised, part two of my History of the World series will take us back to Asia around 6000BC. You may think I made this up, especially because of my references to the inventor, but I assure you my sources are correct. Read on...
In ancient Mesopotamia, a big musclebound bloke named Conan was was tasked by his elders to collect large rocks from a quarry 32 miles away from their mud huts. The rocks were destined to become the foundations of a big-ass tower, that is once these guys had figured out how to build one.
Conan set off with a bunch of his mates and for two years dragged these great big rocks across hill and dale using a bunch of ancient techniques including log rollers, oxen and lash, boat and skids.
One day Conan sat exhausted, wishing he was raping and pillaging with the other warriors of his people and not laying tired out hauling these stupid bloody stones around the country. While he sat staring at the big rock that was his current charge, he noticed two large logs had broke loose by careless workers. As they rolled down the gentle slope they hit one of his mates ankles, lifting the poor guy off his feet. The guy fell hard onto the logs which were now gaining speed.
Conan watched in amusement as the guy struggled to keep himself and all his appendages on the two speeding roller-logs. Suddenly he had a EUREKA! moment.
He watched excitedly as he realized how efficiently the rollers kept on turning while also carrying the guy with ease. In the end the guy crashed into a large boulder outcrop and was killed but, the Sumerian's idea was already developed in his mind.
Rushing back to his work companions, he commanded them to cut down the biggest, roundest tree they could find, then to cut the trunk into slices one hands width each. This they quickly did. He then told them to cut holes in the center of each, large enough to take the diameter of current log rollers they were using, and with a little room to allow the circular strips to rotate. He told then to place pegs each side to prevent these strips from moving horizontally.
When done, Conan then showed them how his new 'wheels' would help them move the huge rocks.
He fixed a wheel to two of the rolling logs, one each side, this formed two axles, (Although Conan never knew that was what they were to eventually destined to be called.) Placing the two, wheeled axles, 6ft apart, he then ordered planks of rough cut timbers to be joined together, this was then laid into the space between the two axles and fixed to them securely.
Now here was Conan's idea... he took slaves and oxen from the local village and tied them in gangs along ropes which he fixed to his new "Conanmobile'. He and his friends would 'ride' on the new, wheeled contraption. Then he stretched ropes from the contraption to the huge rock. He then commanded the slaves/oxen forward.
Everyone was amazed how much easier it was for them to "Ride" along and even sleep while the rocks was hauled back to his mud-hut village. The wheel had been invented!
Note: It took another generation before someone decided it may be a good idea to place the rock on the"Conanmobile"...
NEXT: THE SAIL BOAT
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