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Through the many millennia of the Paleolithic period and the Neolithic period no use of the wheel was known to humans. Its use was not known to the Native Americans until the Europeans introduced it. In the Old World it came into use in the Bronze Age, when oxen and horses were first used as draft animals and wheeled vehicles were devised. Wheels for vehicles were at first solid wooden disks; spoked wheels were introduced c.2700 B.C. The potter's wheel was invented in the Bronze Age, earlier pottery being made, like that of the Native Americans, without the use of the wheel. See geargear,
toothed wheel, cylinder, or cone that transmits motion from one part of a machine to another; it is one of the oldest means of transmitting motion. When the teeth of two gears are meshed, turning one gear will cause the other to rotate.
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; tiretire,
device made of rubber and fabric and attached to the outer rim of a vehicle wheel. Solid rubber tires were in limited use before 1850; they are still used in some special applications, e.g., for industrial trucks in factories.
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; wheel and axlewheel and axle,
simple machine consisting of a wheel mounted rigidly upon an axle or drum of smaller diameter, the wheel and the axle having the same axis. It is fundamentally a form of lever, the center common to both the wheel and the axle corresponding to the fulcrum, the
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See R. J. Forbes, Studies in Ancient Technology (1955); E. Tunis, Wheels (1955); W. Owen et al., ed., Wheels (1972).



a part found in machines and mechanisms; it takes the form of a round plate or of a rim joined by spokes to a hub. A wheel can spin freely on an axle or be fastened to it, and it is used to transmit or convert rotary motion.

The wheel, one of the greatest inventions of mankind, has been known since about the middle of the fourth millenium B.C. (in Mesopotamia). The wheel was an improvement on the wooden rollers that had been used for millennia to move loads. Initially the wheel was a round plate fitted to an axle. In the second millennium B.C., its design was improved: the wheel with spokes, a hub, and a circular rim appeared. Later a metal rim came into use for increased strength and durability, and much later the rim was replaced by the tires used in motor vehicles.

The invention of the wheel furthered the development and improvement of crafts and trades: the potter’s wheel, the grinding wheel in mills, the spinning wheel, and the lathe are all derived from the wheel. With the invention of self-propelled vehicles, the wheel began to act as a link in the propulsion system. Water wheels have been used in irrigation works, manufacturing mills, mines, and elsewhere. In the 19th century the the water wheel as an energy converter was gradually replaced by the turbine, which is also basically a wheel. In a majority of operating machines, the wheel alters the rotation speed, changes the direction of motion, or transfers motion from a horizontal axis to a vertical one or vice versa (in belt and gear drives and the like).

What does it mean when you dream about a wheel?

A wheel may indicate completion of a project or the continuation of a familiar situation. A circle is also a spiritual sign of that which has no beginning and no end. Alternatively, the dreamer may be caught in a situation in which he or she feels they are going in a circle.


(design engineering)
A circular frame with a hub at the center for attachment to an axle, about which it may revolve and bear a load.


1. a solid disc, or a circular rim joined to a hub by radial or tangential spokes, that is mounted on a shaft about which it can turn, as in vehicles and machines
2. a device consisting of or resembling a wheel or having a wheel as its principal component
3. short for potter's wheel
4. a type of firework coiled to make it rotate when let off
5. a set of short rhyming lines, usually four or five in number, forming the concluding part of a stanza
6. the disc in which the ball is spun in roulette
7. US and Canadian an informal word for bicycle
8. Archaic a refrain


[slang "big wheel" for a powerful person] A person who has an active wheel bit. "We need to find a wheel to unwedge the hung tape drives." (See wedged).
References in periodicals archive ?
Like Wheel of Fortune, Pick-a-Box's core as a quiz show involved the trialling of knowledge in a round of five questions put to a contestant.
This authority was strikingly evident in the radio version of Wheel of Fortune, where Grundy's decision to phone a random number from the Sydney telephone directory had the automatic consequence of excluding those not selected or called.
When Wheel of Fortune moved to television, its producer host considered continuing this part of the show but decided against it (Anon.
Another form of participation involving the audience at home was the telephone call, as deployed successfully by Wheel of Fortune.
2CH's biggest daytime quiz Wheel of Fortune 2-4pm daily drew such phenomenal response on the first day that the volume of incoming calls completely disrupted Sydney telephone services, blowing every fuse in the York Exchange.
Despite this enthusiasm for active participation in the show, the fact was that the radio version of Wheel of Fortune had to silence the voice of a listener reached by telephone call because of broadcasting regulations that prevented them being put to air (Australian Broadcasting Control Board, 1950 72).
Wheel of Fortune passed up the option, but not so Pick-a-Box, which--as we have noted--incorporated this into both its radio and television versions.
Early quiz shows like the radio version of Wheel of Fortune could restrict the verbal purview of a participant to a mute, unheard presence--much like that of the general listening public, with only the latter's quiz answers reported over the airwaves.
Nevertheless, despite the relative singularity of a Jones or a Partridge, the fact was that, by and large, voice, appearance, demeanour, gestures and so on of contestants on both Wheel of Fortune and Pick-a-Box tended to identify them as part of the ordinary, everyday world.
This could never be more than fleeting in the case of Wheel of Fortune where, as mentioned, the turnover of even winning contestants was rapid.