Essay by Metalroid September 2002

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When early humans moved from place to place they had to walk. If they needed to move something, they had to carry it. Heavy loads were dragged on slegdes, and animals, usally oxen, were used to help. If the load was very heavy it was placed on rollers made from tree trunks. This was a very slow job until, about 5,000 years ago, the wheel was invented.

The first wheel was probably just a slice from a log. This would soon crack and split.

A wheel made of different pieces would be stronger, but very heavy. It was a long time before the spoked wheel was thought of. This meant that wheels could be strong, but lighter.

For hundreds of years people traveled by wagon, and carried trade goods in heavy carts. It must have been very slow and uncomfortable, especially as roads were just muddy, and stony tracks.

The Greeks and Romans used the spoked wheel with a metal rim for their chariots. These were light, fast, two-wheeled carriages. They would often have races.

From the 17th until the 19th century, when the railways came, people traveled long distances by coach. These were drawn by four are six horses that were changed often at special stopping places called stages.