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Is there a source for this?[edit]

It was in America that the design was reversed with the wheel moving from the centre to the front of the box and the motive power to the rear. Modern wheelbarrows are often misspelled wheel barrels. (RJP 14:14, 28 December 2006 (UTC))

Should this article be on an disambig page or a redirect to this for Wheel Barrel since that is what is, although incorrect, most commonly called. FuzionZero 18:02, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Citation needed for it being more commonly called a wheelbarrel. Only place I've encountered that is Edmonton. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:23, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

source for roman empire wheebarrows?[edit]

where does this information come from? (taxation leeds to design of wheelbarrows)

to the best of my knowledge there is no documetary or archelogical evidence for the existance of roman wheel barrows 11:42, 2 March 2007 (UTC)


I just greatly expanded the section on ancient China.--PericlesofAthens 02:05, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

China invented everything[edit]

Seems like they invented everyhting. Must have invented fire and light, too. CJ DUB 01:49, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Funny joke except you cant invent fire or light. Those are naturally occuring things and are discovered, not invented. FuzionZero 18:04, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
Everything? Not a chance. The flurry of Chinese inventiveness can be seen in the Warring States, Han, Tang, and Song eras, but this does not measure up to the modern industrialized West since the 18th century.--Pericles of AthensTalk 01:16, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
In any case, a talk page is to be used for discussion on improving the article, so that is my final 2 cents on the matter.--Pericles of AthensTalk 01:17, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Please note wheel-barrowing, to topple an airplane.[edit]

Many would spell it as wheel_barrow, wheeled_barrow, wheel-barrow, wheeled-barrow, as well as the misspelling[s] like wheel_barrel, & its variations [including barrel|barrel_(disambiguation).].

This should link wheel, barrow, wiktionary : barrow [gravemound].

Thank You,

[[ hopiakuta Please do sign your signature on your message. ~~ Thank You. -]] 11:30, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

2 wheeled, large wheelbarrows[edit]

There isn't a picture nor info of good, large modern wheelbarrows, such as the Vabor l400/lg230, ... See this site. Please include. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:15, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Please help place this[edit]

Not sure where to put this, but it's a good image.

Anna Frodesiak (talk) 13:34, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

The page is verging on cluttered with images already. You could make a gallery on Commons in addition to the raw category, with a link from the page?--Charles (talk) 14:43, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
Not a bad idea. It would be great to bump an image for this one. After all, the man in this picture is only 9 inches tall! Anna Frodesiak (talk) 16:38, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

A Greek invention?[edit]

Most sources say it was Chinese. Should the Wikipedia be asserting it was Greek, on the basis of one source who has found ambiguous references to a one-wheeled vehicle? --GwydionM (talk) 17:27, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

I have to agree with you. The citation saying "It can only be a wheelbarrow, necessarily guided and balanced by a man" is unfounded. There is plenty of evidence for one-wheel trailers in various parts of the world. That it led to nothing puts a question mark over this statement.
In addition, the inclusion of the large section on "Chinese sailing carriages" seems out of place in this article and should be moved perhaps to the Land sailing article. Most of the references are to multi-wheel vehicles although sail-assisted wheelbarrows certainly did exist in China as shown by the illustration and other engravings in Temple's book. Chris55 (talk) 10:12, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
I restored Chris55's changes when they were wiped out. I have now repeated this. To be blunt, the original was nonsense and should be mentioned as a fringe theory, if at all. Also the person making the change is clearly not a native speaker of English and may have some very personal reason for wanting to deny the merits of Chinese culture.
Pretty well every source that discusses the matter agrees with the notion of a Chinese origin. And it is pretty unlikely that the Greeks would not have made wider use of wheelbarrows if they had in fact invented them. --GwydionM (talk) 13:21, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
Forget about your fringe theory. M.J.T. Lewis is one of the foremost historians of ancient technology in the English language and Technology and Culture is one of the most renowned peer-reviewed journal on the history of technology. The origin of the wheelbarrow, this is Lewis' research result, was in Greece. It is absolute standard practice all over WP, as in fact it is in every scholarly enterprise, to state the references first, then and only then give criticism. Therefore, this "admits" intro is already deep in the POV arena. If you have sources which criticize Lewis, let's add them. But without them the phrase "may have invented" is already strong enough, that his is not a generaly accepted hypothesis. It has not been refuted, either, though, and the semantics are pretty compelling: a one-wheeler with a body must be of mechanical necessity a wheelbarrow. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 09:20, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
I have better things to do than spend more time arguing with a stuborn fool. Either someone else takes a hand or this particular entry stays silly and deserving of ridicule by the Wiki's foes. --GwydionM (talk) 10:54, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Keep cool. Have you still not read the Lewis's article you edit-war about? Before, the WP entry was phrased "was invented" which I agree and accept was too strong a wording. But the version you favour is too intent on explaining Lewis away. Therefore, I think the phrase "may be invented", as it now stands, is a good balanced compromise. As I said, I haven't still found a single scholar who came out of his hiding and refuted Lewis. So, if not the generally accepted view, it is still a strong minority view, strong enough to be published in the most renowned peer-reviewed English journal on the history of technology. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 12:25, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Your argument demanding a "single scholar who came out of his hiding and refuted Lewis" is absurd. Academic consensus is based on how many scholars support a theory, not on how many scholars refute it. There are many minority viewpoints out there, you can't expect academics to tackle them all. Neither is your "most renowned peer-reviewed English journal" claim convincing; it relies on an "argument from authority" fallacy. The prestige of a journal does not impact the scholarly acceptance of the papers it publishes. Andrew Wakefield's autism claims in The Lancet, case in point. And it's certainly not sufficient enough of a rationale to devote an entire section on a minority viewpoint, making it just as long as the section on the scholarly consensus.--Ninthabout (talk) 20:46, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

It is absurd to assert a claim that the wheelbarrow was invented by the Greeks based on an abstract reference to who knows what. On the other hand the evidence for the Chinese origin of the wheelbarrow is concrete, as represented by drawings, models, toys, etc. Moreover, it is extremely odd that something as practical as a wheelbarrow would be invented and used, and yet the only evidence is some written list. Undoubtedly, as is the case in China, such a useful invention would spread like wildfire and be found in many places over millenia. So, one Greek genious invented it (on a list) and then everybone just forgot about it? Please. The European/White obsession with claiming all civilization and inventions is well known. A good example is the spurious assertion that Guttenberg invented the printing press.

I think it's fine if someone wants to put that there is an unproven claim that the Greeks once wrote about a thing which could be interpreted as a wheelbarrow, but this article should clearly state that the only proven case is that the Chinese invented it, and a while lot of other things.

The lack of archeological evidence to support the conclusion by M. J. T. Lewis that the wheelbarrow existed in ancient Greece makes his assertion extremely dubious. The wheelbarrow spread quite quickly in China, and left extensive archeological remains. That something as sturdy and inevitably ubiquitous as a wheelbarrow would leave no trace other than a single reference in a building material inventory makes Lewis' claim not credible. Moreover, why would something as useful and easy to reproduce as the wheelbarrow simply disappear?

For a more objective article the Chinese origin should come first and the absurd Greek speculation by Lewis should be put under an subheading of "Other Theories" Finally, Lewis' statement that the wheelbarrow was "possibly" transmitted to China before disappearing in Western Europe until 1220 CE is perplexing at best. The earliest known reference to a wheelbarrow in China is from the 1st century BCE. What traffic was there from Greece to China at that time? Why did it not appear in any of the areas between Greece and China? What other Greek inventions would have been conveyed to China? Why would a wheelbarrow be taken from Greece to China? These and many other questions would have to be satisfactorily answered by Lewis in order to begin to entertain his unsupported theories.

- AR — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:59, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

I wasn't notified that the section was reverted back, but Lewis' position is a minority view among technology historians, something that he states (if "admits" is too strong a word) in his article on the very first page, listing prominent technology historians (Bertrand Gille, Andrea Matthies, Joseph Needham) in favor of the Chinese origin. This alone brings up issues of WP:FRINGE and WP:UNDUE, since it doesn't represent the scholarly consensus, and it overtly supports a minority view. That aside, the edition which I reverted selectively ignores two important features of Lewis' paper. First, that Lewis' entire argument is primarily based around the Eleusis list, not archaeological evidence, something which is gl. Secondly, that the scenario of wheelbarrows in the Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire is speculative; Lewis is much more conservative with his views than the article presents it as. He even says on page 475, that "most of this scenario, perforce, is pure speculation". Somehow, this "pure speculation" has been egregiously morphed into an optimistic "still open" question and a viable possibility.--Ninthabout (talk) 20:10, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
You are still quite new to WP, Ninthabout, so you may not be acquainted with Wikipedia:Criticism: first the reference is presented and then and only then its criticism. So far you have still not come up with any critique of Lewis's research, have you? Your other policies have nothing whatsoever to do with Lewis and his research. Lewis is one of the foremost scholars on ancient technology and Technology and Culture is one of the most renowned publication in the field and Lewis's thesis is that the wheelbarrow originates in Ancient Greece. As long as you refuse to recognize that Lewis wrote the article to show that the wheelbarrow may come from Ancient Greece, we won't make any progress here. So could you do that, please? The evidence for the Eleusis wheelbarrow is clear and straightforward - otherwise it would not have been accepted in a peer-reviewed journal. And at page one he addresses the standard view up to his time, in 1994. To the best of my knowledge, Lewis new findings have never been questioned, so the ball is in your park to come up with any criticism. I have already toned down from "was invented" to "may be invented" to address concerns. I find your quotation above to be pretty selective and too opinionated to be of much use.
This is what he says:

Since dikyklos and tetrakyklos mean nothing but "two-wheeler" and "four-wheeler," and since the monokyklos body is sandwiched in the Eleusis inventory between a four-wheeler body and its four wheels, to take it as anything but a one-wheeler strains credulity far beyond breaking point. It can only be a wheelbarrow, necessarily guided and balanced by a man. What did it look like? We have no idea. The only comment possible is that one might expect the wheel to be at the front, the position universal in later European practice and attested in China before the central wheel...One swallow does not make a summer. How widely used was the Greek wheelbarrow? This is equally hard to answer, but a few thoughts can be offered about the nature of the sources. The only sphere of Greek life where we have any evidence for the wheelbarrow is construction...On the face of it, then, the classical Greek wheelbarrow was a flash in the pan, forgotten in the West and rediscovered quite independently some four centuries later in China. Or else, perhaps, it was forgotten in the West but only after the idea had passed to China, just as happened, it is suggested, with the principle of the much less useful south-pointing chariot.66 Which of these scenarios one adopts depends on whether one prefers to believe in independent invention of exactly the same thing, or, despite the lack of evidence of intermediaries, in long-distance diffusion. This is a realm where it is dangerous to be dogmatic. Yet there is a third possibility. The sources, both ancient and Byzantine, are so thin that the survival of the wheelbarrow in the West can by no means be excluded.

Gun Powder Ma (talk) 20:48, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

It's not necessary to point out my newness, I've been here for the last sixth months, which is long enough to be acquainted with the basic polices. Ignoring the issue of WP:UNDUE weight, which still applies, I have three main issues with your revision: 1) It doesn't emphasize what the scholarly consensus is. 2) It glances over that much of the "evidence" for the alleged wheelbarrow comes from primarily one source, the Eleusis List. 3) Much of Lewis' comments on Byzantine and Roman wheelbarrows are purely speculative, something that he does admit, and something that needs to be in the article to fix the POV. Judging by your comments, you agree with me (on some basic level) on all three points, the problem is in the language. I find your version to be way too optimistic. That it doesn't state this is a minority viewpoint is one of its biggest flaws. I'm willing to discuss and tone down my revision, so perhaps we'll be able meet halfway?--Ninthabout (talk) 21:15, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
In addition, I've already addressed your argument over the lack of immediate refutation. Scholarly consensus is determined by how many academics support a theory, not how many are opposed to it. The burden of proof to show that this is not a fringe theory is on you.--Ninthabout (talk) 21:25, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
This discussion was listed at WP:3O; I removed it because there are already more than two editors involved. VQuakr (talk) 20:54, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
As long as you refer to a peer-reviewed article by a respected historian of technology as a "fringe theory" you are only disqualifying yourself as a serious dialogue partner without a real grasp on WP policies. The Greek section is phrased defensively enough, just see how many qualifications it makes. I don't know how we can meet halfways. Shall we change "may have been invented" to "may have existed", just to prevent the reader from thinking that there may be a West-east transmission (in which I do not believe)? Gun Powder Ma (talk) 21:38, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
PS: there seems to another reference to a pabo in Isidore of Seville, but I don't know yet in which passage. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 21:35, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm offering to discuss, it's frustrating that you're avoiding the points I am trying to make and focusing on my use of the word "fringe". Again, the burden of proof is on you to show that a minority viewpoint is in the scholarly consensus. Unless you can do that, there's no reason to give Lewis as much weight as the article is.--Ninthabout (talk) 21:37, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't think there is any scholarly consensus as you seem to envision in the sense that each and all contributions have to harmonized by force into a single view which is the only right. There is more than one view out there and WP is the right place to give more than one view space if the references are good enough. And you will agree with me that Lewis's article is a pretty good source in every way. I don't understand why you are so intent in bringing the Greek section into line with the Chinese section? Clearly, there is no historian to date who has done research in both fields and is qualified enough to speak authoritatively for both cultures (even Lewis, in his discussion of Chinese wheelbarrows, only summarizes the research by others [Needham]) and there is nothing wrong when the WP article reflects this. In fact, this seems to me the only really neutral way of approaching the subject. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 21:43, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
The Lewis source is just one source, primarily based on one Eleusis list, which the article gives too much weight to. What I'm looking for, is support by reliable sources for Lewis' theory to justify giving it so much weight, which there doesn't seem to be. Needham's theories are widely supported, can the same be said about Lewis? Otherwise, the section needs to mention that this is a minority viewpoint to be neutral. It's giving the readers a false impression that Lewis' theory is widely supported as a viable possibility.--Ninthabout (talk) 22:05, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it gives too much weight to Lewis. Much to the contrary, there are now very many qualifications, making the Greek evidence rather sound weak and almost like weasel wording: "may have existed", "although absent", "it is surmised", "the present evidence does not indicate", "due to a lack of research", "Possibly". What theories by Needham do you believe are widely supported? That he attributed the wheelbarrow flatly to the Chinese? Needham attributed anything to the ancient Chinese and his Cambridge Science and Civilisation in China was noted by other scholars like Finlay for habitually inflating Chinese achievements.
Fact is there are three occurrences of the wheelbarrow: In Ancient Greece, in ancient China and in medieval Europe and that the wheelbarrow had always been unknown in the vast stretches of Eurasia between Europe and China. That makes it a priori the most likely explanation that it evolved each time independently, very much at odds with Needham's diffusionism (almost invariably from east to west). Not to mention that the medieval and Chinese wheelbarrow were of a very different construction, with a very different center of gravity (the European at the front, the Chinese in the center) and the shape of the Chinese barrow was very dissimilar to medieval and modern design, as I hope you have already realized yourself. All this makes Needham's diffusionism, if you mean this, inherently unlikely and indicates that we should be careful to avoid to make the Chinese version of the wheelbarrow too much the measure of things here. Regards Gun Powder Ma (talk) 21:15, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

The wheelbarrow is such a useful device that once developed, it would certainly have spread. That's why the single reference to a Greek 'one wheel' is highly likely to be something else. --GwydionM (talk) 23:08, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

We know that the wheelbarrow did not spread to the vast Eurasian (later Islamic) lands in between the endpoints of Europe and China where it should have appeared if it ever spread east- or westward. In Egypt, for one, the wheelbarrow of the Napoleonic expedition troops was recorded as late as 1800 as a novelty by local writers. That completely contradicts your diffusionist theory and demonstrates it lacks empirical underpinning. Without sound evidence to the contrary, the Greek, medieval and Chinese wheelbarrow should be each best regarded as independent inventions. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 08:19, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
That definitely counts as Original Research, unless you can find a serious published source that says it. --GwydionM (talk) 18:18, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
"The wheelbarrow is such a useful device that once developed, it would certainly have spread. That's why the single reference to a Greek 'one wheel' is highly likely to be something else. ", now that highly sounds like OR to me. Athenean (talk) 01:14, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Not quite so, GwydionM. I am rather surprised that you did not know that the wheelbarrow was only known in medieval Europe, ancient China and quite possibly ancient Greece. Your assertion that it was known in other places too is definitely original research, unless you can find a serious published source which shows wheelbarrow in existence somewhere else. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 07:45, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

Hi all. Eric from Kyrgyzstan (I'm serving as a Peace Corps volunteer at the moment). I was contacted on my talk page about this discussion, so here I am. I don't have much time before I catch a taxi so I'll make this short. Lewis' input is a minority one, so having a large chunk of the article dedicated to his research does fall under WP:UNDUE. That said, he is not a fringe theorist. The section speculating a Greek origin should simply be parsed down, since the overwhelming evidence comes from Han China. Scholarly consensus supports this view.

There; was that so hard? I don't see what all the fuss is about. Just have a few sentences mentioning the Eleusis List (the one source Lewis has to offer). Then alaka-bam! Everyone's happy. Right? Go focus on more important things guys, unless of course you've got some summer yard work to do with your wheelbarrow.

On a side note to GunPowderMa: guess where I'm living now? In the same region where the Chinese Tang and Arab Abbasid Caliphate duked it out in the 8th century. That's right, you guessed it, Talas! Lol. It's more or less Manas country now. Cheers.--Pericles of AthensTalk 09:43, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

The Greek and Roman evidence amounts to no more than one fourth of the Chinese section, I would not call this "a large chunk of the article" in any way. Rather, the medieval part seems to be much too short, not to mention the lacking coverage of modern designs. But hey, Pericles, have you visited the battle field at Talas? Gun Powder Ma (talk) 11:11, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the medieval section should be expanded, and perhaps the Chinese sailing carriage info moved to a different article such as land sailing. When that move is done, however, the remaining "Chinese" section won't be much larger than the Greco-Roman one (despite the greater volume of early evidence for wheelbarrows in China). As for the Battle of Talas, its exact location within Talas Province is unknown but did occur along the banks of the Talas River. On a side note, I'm reading Klaus Bringmann's "A History of the Roman Republic" at the moment; have you read his work before? He makes everything so crystal clear regarding Rome's rise in Italy and superior military resources over that of the seemingly greater Hellenistic powers. This particular volume is really only a crash course, though (one that I perused as an undergrad). I'd love to see some of his more nuanced articles if you have access to any. Cheers everyone, I'm out.--Pericles of AthensTalk 06:45, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Mechanical advantage[edit]

A text from the 5th century noted that the mechanical advantage of the wooden ox was so that a wheelbarrow driver could bring a load over a distance of 6m equally fast as a person without a wheel barrow over 1,8m. Reference: The Seventy Great Inventions of the Ancient World by Brian M. Fagan. Thus the mechanical advantage would be 3,33x.

Add in article. (talk) 14:24, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Tubular-framed wheelbarrow.[edit]

One of the small differences I noticed when moving from the UK to the US is that the wheelbarrows in the US are almost always in the form depicted in this article: basically two sticks, with handles on one end, a wheel on the other, a bucket on top and feet below. I had *never encountered* this design before. I find it delightfully elegant and simple, with the major advantage that every single part can be easily replaced, so DIY stores sell all parts for wheelbarrows, and even kits to make your own.

In the UK, by comparison, wheelbarrows almost always the tubular steel design: a single bent metal tube forms handles, bucket support, legs, and wheel holder, bending around the front of the wheel to form both sides. This distinctively-shaped bent metal pole is what I (and I suspect, most British people) think of as a wheelbarrow. It's a really clever design that could only be made in a pipe-bending shop. It has the significant advantages that the bucket can ride much lower, the barrow can be shorter, the handles can be higher, and it's made from only one tube of metal so can be mass-produced much more cheaply (though sometimes support and strengthening bars are added); but once it breaks, you prettymuch have to buy a new one, because there are no easily-repairable parts other than the wheel, which is typically the only part you can find for sale.

A UK store selling wheelbarrows:

A US store selling wheelbarrows:

It's a marked difference. Far as I can tell in Googling, the US is the only country I can find that still typically includes wooden poles in mass-produced wheelbarrows, and doesn't use tubular frames. I imagine this is market-driven: when an American buys a wheelbarrow, he's looking for one like the one his father had, one that's like he's used to using previously, rather than some different style (I felt the same when I went shopping for a wheelbarrow, after all, but there were none available: all are US-style).

This is all OR, so I can't include any of it, but I feel that tubular frame wheelbarrows deserve at least a mention in the page, since they're so markedly different from the barrows already described, appear to be in wide use throughout most of the world, and are, I feel, considerably more notable an invention than the ball-wheeled wheelbarrow. DewiMorgan (talk) 01:06, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

Cart image removed[edit]

File:Kids in cart. Leh.jpg

I removed the file "Kids in wheelbarrow. Leh.jpg" (shown here) because, the file name notwitstanding, this looks more like a cart to me -- it merely needs to be pushed to be locomoted, rather having the handles lifted. Herostratus (talk) 16:01, 24 March 2017 (UTC)

File:Hand-propelled wheel cart from Indus Valley Civilization.GIF

On the other hand, I just came across this, from the Cart article. It is hand-propelled, so it sure looks like a (two-wheeled) wheelbarrow to me. Since it is (according to the file description) from the Indus Valley Civilization (3000–1500 BCE) it is much older than the earliest wheelbarrows according to this article ("2nd century Han Dynasty"), this could be worth noting. However, I'm not certain that the handle isn't in front -- that is, that it isn't propelled by two people facing away from the main body of the device -- although I doubt it, so I guess more research would be needed there. Herostratus (talk) 16:23, 24 March 2017 (UTC)

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