Dec 3, 2017

The Prehistoric History Of The Wheel

Everyone knows the earliest advancements of early civilization included man's ability to control fire, the ability to make simple tools of wood and stone, and probably most importantly, the wheel. Nothing ever created has contributed to the advancement of the human race, lead to other advancements, or run over as many people as the wheel.

The first wheel was made during the Stone Age by a cave man named Ugg. Or Mr Ugg, as he preferred to be called. Mr Ugg was a burley sort of guy who lived with his wife, Mrs Ugg, their eldest son, Bug Ugg, and Bug's nine younger siblings, the nonuplets, for which Mr and Mrs Ugg had never thought to name and just referred to as the baby bugs.

I reckon when you have nine babies that all look just alike you simply shrug it off and let then figure it out for themselves. At least that's what Mr and Mrs Ugg decided to do.

As you can imagine, Mrs Ugg was a stay at home mom, busy taking care of ten children, picking berries, digging up roots, looking for termites ants, and other insects to eat, and keeping the home-fires burning while Mr Ugg was away at work. Mr Ugg fished and hunted 2,000 pound prehistoric bears when he wasn't busy working on new inventions.

Mr Ugg preferred to spend his time inventing new things but from time to time he was forced to answer the call to duty. "Ugg!" Mrs Ugg would shout, "Baby bugs hungry-- look blood thirsty. Go kill something, now!"

"Okay, okay," Mr Ugg would shout, "Maybe Ugg get killed this time hunt bear."

"Then baby bugs eat Mr Ugg," Mrs Ugg would shout. "Better than eat me."

Ugg had discovered that the fattest bears could be rolled on flat ground and down hills with much less effort than trying to drag them all the way home. And by using a rock he called a chockarock he was able to prevent his kill from rolling back down the hill as he worked to push the bear up the hill.

And so it was, Mr Ugg invented what would later be called the wheel chock.

Ugg's first wheels were simply logs. Problem was: the logs kept rolling out from under Ugg's bear carcasses. Mr Ugg could only move his bear a few feet before all the logs rolled out from under his bear forcing him to stop and place the logs back under the bear. And when Ugg attempted to cross a stream his logs all floated away.

Ugg then decided to build a crude frame on which to place the bear but still the logs rolled out from under the frame.

Then Ugg got the idea that a piece of a log chopped off the end of a hollow log with a stick stuck through the hole might work better. And so with many hours of chopping wood with stone tools, Ugg had simultaneously invented the axle, the wheel, and the wheelbarrow. Mr Ugg called it the Uggbarrow.

But moving 2,000 pound bear carcasses on a single wheel is a daunting challenge even for the biggest and strongest of men and Mr Ugg soon realized that improvements to his Uggbarrow were to be in order. Improvements came in the form of an axle that extended from side to side with wheels on each end. Mr Ugg's two wheeled Uggbarrow was the predecessor to what would later be called the cart. Now moving 2,000 bears was easier and took less time than ever before. And when Ugg wasn't hauling bears he could haul his family to follow the game wherever it happened to go.

One of the early problems Ugg encountered with his two wheeled Uggbarrow was that of friction. Ugg had noticed that the wood was becoming charred where the wheel and axle met but was unable to figure out a way to stop the charring. He also understood that rubbing sticks together was a means via which his ancestors had discovered to start fires so he worried that his Uggbarrow might catch on fire and cook his kill prematurely.

But Mr Ugg was at a complete loss as to what he might do to eliminate the friction. "Ugg," Mr Ugg said, "ball bearing not invented for at least fifty thousand years-- how Ugg fix?"

One day Bug said, "Daddy, Bug poop, wipe butt on axle. Now wheel turn really smooth. Want me poop on other side?"

"Ah," Ugg answered as he examined the newly lubricated wheel, "No, I think Ugg try bear grease-- not stink so much."

"Mr Ugg use last bear grease," Mrs Ugg shouted, "Now maybe go hunt more bear!"

"Yes, Dear," Mr Ugg replied, "Right away, Dear."

"I said hunt bear!" Mrs Ugg shouted. "No hunt deer. No grease in deer."

Not all was working perfectly though. Sometimes the wheels would fall off the axles dumping everyone and everything on the ground. And it seemed the more Ugg used his cart the worse the problem became. "Ugg," Ugg said, "what do? Lug nut not be invented for at least fifty-five thousand years. How Ugg fix?"

Ugg's first attempt was to chisel a hole in the axle and drop a wooden dowel in the hole but the dowel fell out the bottom of the hole. Finally, after numerous failed attempts, Ugg discovered that a tapered dowel could be driven into the hole with his club and that would secure the wheel.

Ugg had invented what would someday evolve into the cotter pin.

One day Bug shouted, "Look, Bug put more wheels on Uggbarrow!" It now had two large wheels on one end and two smaller wheels on the other end on a second axle Bug had installed. But as Mr and Mrs Ugg looked over Bug's work, one of them inadvertently leaned against the Uggbarrow sending it rolling down the hill out of control. "Look!" Bug shouted, "Now Uggbarrow not need push. That great, right?"

"Make Uggbarrow come back up hill." Mrs Ugg commanded.

Finally after Bug spent several days and nights continuously attempting to call the Uggbarrow back up the hill, Mr Ugg said, "Bug, take chockarock, go down hill and push Uggbarrow back to top. Then take off Buggy wheels."

Centuries later Bug's descendants would work out details like steering, brakes, and a harness to hook what would eventually be called the Buggy to animals to move men and cargo over land more quickly.

Bug wasn't finished with making improvements in Mr Ugg's Uggbarrow. It was Bug who invented seats for Mrs Ugg and the Baby Bugs to ride in. Of course, Bug being being a teenager it wasn't entirely without ulterior motive. You see, Bug had been borrowing the Uggbarrow to take his girlfriend, Phew, up to Lover's Point where they made out in the back seat.

It was also for Phew that Bug also developed the world's first all natural, 100% organic deodorant and line of soaps called Bug Sprays. Isn't it funny how some words and phrases take on completely different meanings throughout the centuries?

Bug wasn't finished improving his father's Uggbarrow. Bug discovered that by placing his little wheel between the bigger wheel and the wooden Cotter pin, he was able to reduce friction, make the Uggbarrow easier to push, and save wear and tear on wheels, axles, and cotter pins. Mr Ugg was so impressed that he order Bug to install dozens of little wheels on each axle but it was soon learned that there was such a thing as too much of a good thing. In the end they found that one little wheel on each side of each big wheel seemed to work best.

And thus Bug had invented what would someday be called the Washer. Ironic, don't you think, that the Washer was invented by the same young cave man who invented soap?

In the meantime Mrs Ugg said, "Mr Ugg, time you take Bug, teach how to hunt bear. Phew have something in oven."

"What oven?" Mr Ugg asked.

"When you invent oven you understand," Mrs Ugg replied.

So it was, Mr Ugg invented the first oven made of rocks and mud in which to bake the bread required to feed his ever growing clan as 2,000 pound prehistoric bears were about to be hunted out of existence.

And quite frankly, Mr Ugg was glad to see the giant bears go.