[permaculture] A better wheelbarrow

wenshidi at yahoo.co.uk wenshidi at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Jan 22 23:55:12 EST 2012


Dear Ray,

It is a real shame that you spoil such an interesting and and informative post with an offensive racial slur that tars nearly two billion people with the same brush.

Perhaps you could tell us more about the cobberbarrow, and I could introduce to number of Chinese permaculturalists and eco entrepreneurs that could help spread this excellent new development by manufacturing it at low cost, before all those greedy American capitalists patent the idea for pure profit, and stop it from reaching those who would benefit most from this innovative and important technology.  ;-)

Chris

--- On Mon, 1/23/12, Ray Cirino <cobanation at yahoo.com> wrote:

> From: Ray Cirino <cobanation at yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] A better wheelbarrow
> To: "permaculture" <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Date: Monday, January 23, 2012, 12:27 PM
> I love the fact you've felt our
> wheelbarrow is not a multi-purpose tool. The reason it has
> one wheel is to go across a ditch on a board. When I was
> learning cob up in Coquille I saw the log hog and felt it
> was limited to what it could do as is the wheelbarrow. So I
> built a cobbers wheel barrel that does more than anything
> out there. It has two air filled wheels and can carry 500
> lbs with one hand, beacuse of the perfect balance.It carries
> gravel,sand cob, logs, and I use it as a trailer for my
> bike. I love going to the beach and finding large redwood up
> in the Pacific NW. The cobberbarrow weighs about 40 lbs or
> less. I was going to start building it for sale, but knew
> that the Chinese would rip it off like they've done with so
> many things.I hope someday someone can make even a better
> cobberbarrow than mine. Just keep thinking..
> Ray
> 
> The Great Challenges we now face as a species present the
> very opportunities that are giving birth to Ecological,
> Psychological, and Spiritual Sustainability.
> 
> 
> --- On Sun, 1/22/12, Bob Waldrop <bwaldrop at cox.net>
> wrote:
> 
> > From: Bob Waldrop <bwaldrop at cox.net>
> > Subject: [permaculture] A better wheelbarrow
> > To: "permaculture" <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> > Date: Sunday, January 22, 2012, 5:36 PM
> > As most of us know, the typical
> > wheelbarrow in use these days requires the person
> pushing
> > the wheelbarrow to bear a good portion of the weight of
> the
> > load. Our version of the wheelbarrow basically is like
> a
> > stretcher, only with a wheel instead of someone up
> front
> > carrying the front end.
> > 
> > As it turns out, the Chinese had a much better idea for
> a
> > wheelbarrow. It consists of one large central wheel,
> topped
> > with a framework, with platforms on either side for
> the
> > load. The person pushing the wheelbarrow thus carries
> none
> > of the weight, he or she is just pushing and steering.
> All
> > the weight lays upon the wheel and its axel. Going
> forward,
> > we are all going to make a new acquaintance with
> manual
> > labor, and I for one am going to try to build one of
> these
> > for my work this summer, since I use a wheelbarrow a
> lot and
> > as I get older, it’s not getting any easier to
> maneuver
> > it.
> > 
> > Here is a great article on the subject, complete with
> > pictures and contemporaneous accounts from days of
> yore.
> >
> www.lowtechmagazine.com/2011/12/the-chinese-wheelbarrow.html
> > 
> > 
> > Bob Waldrop, OKC
> > 
> > A snip. . . 
> > How to downsize a transport network: the Chinese
> > wheelbarrow
> > For being such a seemingly ordinary vehicle, the
> > wheelbarrow has a surprisingly exciting history. This
> is
> > especially true in the East, where it became a
> universal
> > means of transportation for both passengers and goods,
> even
> > over long distances. 
> > 
> > The Chinese wheelbarrow - which was driven by human
> labour,
> > beasts of burden and wind power - was of a different
> design
> > than its European counterpart. By placing a large wheel
> in
> > the middle of the vehicle instead of a smaller wheel
> in
> > front, one could easily carry three to six times as
> much
> > weight than if using a European wheelbarrow.
> > 
> > The one-wheeled vehicle appeared around the time the
> > extensive Ancient Chinese road infrastructure began to
> > disintegrate. Instead of holding on to carts, wagons
> and
> > wide paved roads, the Chinese turned their focus to a
> much
> > more easily maintainable network of narrow paths
> designed
> > for wheelbarrows. The Europeans, faced with similar
> problems
> > at the time, did not adapt and subsequently lost the
> option
> > of smooth land transportation for almost one thousand
> years.
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > Transport options over land
> > 
> > Before the arrival of the steam engine, people have
> always
> > preferred to move cargo over water instead of over
> land,
> > because it takes much less effort to do so. But
> whenever
> > this was not possible, there remained essentially
> three
> > options for transporting goods: carrying them (using
> aids
> > like a yoke, or none at all), tying them to pack
> animals
> > (donkeys, mules, horses, camels, goats), or loading
> them
> > onto a wheeled cart or wagon (which could be pulled by
> > humans or animals).
> > 
> > Carrying stuff was the easiest way to go; there was no
> need
> > to build roads or vehicles, nor to feed animals. But
> humans
> > can carry no more than 25 to 40 kg over long
> distances,
> > which made this a labour-intensive method if many goods
> had
> > to be transported. Pack animals can take about 50 to
> 150 kg,
> > but they have to be fed, are slightly more demanding
> than
> > people in terms of terrain, and they can be stubborn.
> Pack
> > animals also require one or more people to guide them.
> > 
> > When carrying goods - whether by person or by pack
> animals
> > - the load is not only moved in the desired direction
> but it
> > also undergoes an up and down movement with every step.
> This
> > is a significant waste of energy, especially when
> > transporting heavy goods over long distances. Dragging
> stuff
> > does not have this drawback, but in that case you have
> > friction to fight. Pulling a wheeled vehicle is
> therefore
> > the most energy-efficient choice, because the cargo
> only
> > undergoes a horizontal motion and friction is largely
> > overcome by the wheels. Wheeled carts and wagons,
> whether
> > powered by animals or people, can take more weight for
> the
> > same energy input, but this advantage comes at a price;
> you
> > need to build fairly smooth and level roads, and you
> need to
> > build a vehicle. If the vehicle is drawn by an animal,
> the
> > animal needs to be fed.
> > 
> > When all these factors are taken into consideration,
> the
> > wheelbarrow could be considered the most efficient
> transport
> > option over land, prior to the Industrial Revolution.
> It
> > could take a load similar to that of a pack animal, yet
> it
> > was powered by human labour and not prone to
> disobedience.
> > 
> > Compared to a two-wheeled cart or a four-wheeled wagon,
> a
> > wheelbarrow was much cheaper to build because wheel
> > construction was a labour-intensive job. Although the
> > wheelbarrow required a road, a very narrow path (about
> as
> > wide as the wheel) sufficed, and it could be bumpy. The
> two
> > handles gave an intimacy of control that made the
> > wheelbarrow very manoeuvrable.
> > 
> > East and West: a very different story
> > 
> > 
> > The wheelbarrow tells a very distinct history in both
> the
> > Western and the Eastern world. Although to this date
> its
> > origins remain obscure, it is clear that the vehicle
> played
> > a much larger role in the East than in the West. While
> in
> > recent years there has surfaced some evidence that the
> > wheelbarrow might have been used on construction sites
> by
> > the Ancient Greeks at the end of the fifth century BC,
> there
> > is no mention at all of wheelbarrows in Ancient Rome
> > (although that does not exclude the possibility that
> they in
> > fact did use them).
> > 
> > The first sound evidence of the wheelbarrow in the
> Western
> > world only emerged in the early thirteenth century AD.
> In
> > China, their use is documented extensively from the
> second
> > century AD onwards - more than a thousand years
> earlier. It
> > is interesting to note that the wheelbarrow appeared
> at
> > least 2,000 years later than two-wheeled carts and
> > four-wheeled wagons. 
> > 
> > Handbarrow
> > 
> > When the wheelbarrow finally caught on in Europe, it
> was
> > used for short distance cargo transport only, notably
> in
> > construction, mining and agriculture. It was not a
> road
> > vehicle. In the East, however, the wheelbarrow was
> also
> > applied to medium and long distance travel, carrying
> both
> > cargo and passengers. This use - which had no Western
> > counterpart - was only possible because of a difference
> in
> > the design of the Chinese vehicle. The Western
> wheelbarrow
> > was very ill-adapted to carry heavy weights over
> longer
> > distances, whereas the Chinese design excelled at it.
> > 
> > 
> > On the European wheelbarrow the wheel was (and is)
> > invariably placed at the furthest forward end of the
> barrow,
> > so that the weight of the burden is equally
> distributed
> > between the wheel and the man pushing it. In fact, the
> wheel
> > substitutes for the front man of the handbarrow or
> > stretcher, the carrying tool that was replaced by the
> > wheelbarrow (illustration on the right).
> > 
> > Superior Chinese design
> > 
> > In the characteristic Chinese design a much larger
> wheel
> > was (and is) placed in the middle of the wheelbarrow,
> so
> > that it takes the full weight of the burden with the
> human
> > operator only guiding the vehicle. In fact, in this
> design
> > the wheel substitutes for a pack animal. In other
> words,
> > when the load is 100 kg, the operator of a European
> > wheelbarrow carries a load of 50 kg while the operator
> of a
> > Chinese wheelbarrow carries nothing. He (or she) only
> has to
> > push or pull, and steer.
> > 
> > The result was an extremely powerful and agile vehicle.
> In
> > 1176 AD, the Chinese writer Tsêng Min-Hsing noted
> > enthusiastically:
> > 
> > "The device is so efficient that it can take the place
> of
> > three men; moreover, it is safe and steady when
> passing
> > along dangerous places (cliff paths, etcetera). Ways
> which
> > are as winding as the bowels of a sheep will not
> defeat
> > it."
> > 
> >
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > 
> > The large central wheel of a Chinese wheelbarrow takes
> the
> > full weight of the burden with the human operator only
> > guiding the vehicle
> > 
> >
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > 
> > The Chinese wheelbarrow - which was also widely in use
> in
> > present-day Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos - originally
> appeared
> > in two basic variants. One was originally termed the
> "wooden
> > ox" ("mu niu"), which had the shafts projecting in
> front (so
> > that it was pulled), while the other was termed the
> "gliding
> > horse" ("liu ma"), which has the shafts projecting
> behind
> > (so that it was pushed). A combination of both types
> was
> > also used, being pulled and pushed by two men. From
> these
> > two basic types, many variations evolved. Later, the
> Chinese
> > also used western-style wheelbarrows alongside their
> own
> > design.
> > 
> > (more at the link above.)
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