Encyclopedia > Wheelbarrow

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A wheelbarrow is a small one or two-wheeled cart designed to be pushed by a single person using two handles to the rear. They are designed to ease the transport of heavy, often loose, loads and are common in the construction industry and in gardening.

A two-wheel type is more stable, a one-wheel type has better maneuverability.

Modern designs are usually single wheel. Common designs are all metal with a separate frame and tray. The noise generated by all metal designs in loading and moving means that for domestic use polypropylene trays are more common being lighter and quieter but less tough.


Despite the development of wheeled carts from around 3,000 BCE the invention of the wheelbarrow is usually traced to China, where there are a number of competing claims. Invented around the 2nd century CE it is usually credited to Zhuge Liang[?], ruler of Shu Han[?] from 189 to 234 who had it developed as a transport for military supplies. The design was with a large single central wheel around which a wooden box was constructed but it was soon adapted to a design with two handles for pulling. The first indications of wheelbarrows in Europe are from illustrations in the 13th century. It was in Europe 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.

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