[permaculture] A better wheelbarrow

Thomas Paul Jahn thomaspauljahn at gmail.com
Mon Jan 23 02:39:31 EST 2012


I am really curious about the cobberbarrow too. Please tell us more Ray!

2012/1/23 wenshidi at yahoo.co.uk <wenshidi at yahoo.co.uk>

> 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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