Wheel And Axle Facts: A Simple Vintage Utility Machine

Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Feb 15, 2023 By Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Originally Published on Apr 12, 2022
Edited by Erin Murton
Fact-checked by Muskan Agarwal
Interesting facts about the wheel and axle machine.

The wheel and axle is an ancient form of simple machine.

Its discovery proved to be revolutionary. Wheel and axle are resourceful machines even in the time of modern engineering.

According to researchers, the first type of the wheel and axle was invented in Mesopotamia in 3500 BCE. They had a basic mechanism of wheel and axle and the engineering was not advanced at that time.

Types Of Wheel And Axle

There are two types of basic mechanisms which has the wheels and axles to move things, one where the force is applied directly to the wheel and the other where the force is applied on the axle.

The screwdriver is a good example of a wheel and axle where the force is applied to the wheel. The handle of the screwdriver is known to act as the wheel.

Force applied on the handle turns or spins the machine increasing the force of the axle which in turn turns the screw. The doorknob is another example where the force is applied to the wheel. When the doorknob is turned, the connected locking mechanisms turn and the door can be opened.

The Ferris wheel is an example where the force is applied to the axle. When the cylindrical rod of the center or the axle turns, it results in turning the giant wheel attached to it.

The electric fan works in the same mechanism. In most cases, machines that move in a circle have a wheel and axle of some form attached to them.

Characteristics Of The Wheel And Axle

The wheel and axle are a type of simple machine. While in motion, the force exerted works in an opposite direction from the force of friction. This enables the object to move forward with the least resistance.

The wheel and axle replaced the old methods of transferring things on sleds or logs which caused large friction when they were dragged across the ground. A wheel and axle rotate together and the force gets transferred from one to another.

The driving force can be applied tangentially while the force of the load is applied on the axle.

These forces are balanced on the hinge known as the fulcrum. Every time you ride a bike, you ride on two wheels and axles, while in the case of a car, you ride on four.

Know all about the characteristics and uses of Wheel and Axle.

Common Wheel And Axle Examples

Many common objects of everyday life work on the mechanism of wheel and axle. Some examples are:

Bicycle- The input force applied to the axle of the bicycle, through the rider pushing on the pedals, allows motion and causes the wheels to move.

Car- When the engine of cars applies force to the car tires, it causes the wheels to rotate accordingly.

Ferris Wheel- The center point of the Ferris wheel contains a cylindrical rod subjected to a high magnitude electrical force that causes it to rotate, and in turn that rotates the wheel.

Water wheel- The paddles of the water wheel rotate as water flows, and the motion of the wheel exerts a force on the axle which in turn produces energy.


Q: What is true about the wheel and axle?

A: It is true that the wheel and axle rotate at the same rate.

Q: What is a simple machine?

A: A simple machine is a type of mechanical device that uses the simplest designs to change the direction or magnitude of force. They have a few moving parts to modify motion.

Q: Who invented the wheel and axle?

A: The first wheels and axles were designed by the early Greeks in ancient times. Their construction was very basic.

Q: How is a door knob a wheel and an axle?

A: A door knob is an example of a wheel and axle where the door knob itself acts as a wheel and the shaft of the lockset acts as the axle.

Q: What type of simple machine are stairs?

A: Stairs are also an example of simple machines referred to as inclined planes.

Q: How to make a wheel and axle with household items?

A: You can make a wheel and axle at home using objects like a button, circular cardboard, round disc, thread spool, and plastic cap for the wheel and cardboard tube, plastic bottle, and bamboo stick for the axle.

Q: Who invented the screw simple machine?

A: The simple machine called screw was invented by Archimedes in the 3rd century BCE but in the first century, the use of wooden screws was noticed.

Q: Which is an example of a wheel and axle?

A: Bicycle wheel, Ferris wheel, electric fan are all examples of a wheel and axle machine.

Q: How are a wheel and axle used?

A: The wheel and axle are used for move the load of heavy objects as well as to move machinery for complex machines.

Q: How to make a wheel and axle out of cardboard?

A: To make a cardboard wheel and axle machine you need to have two pieces of circular cardboard and several cardboard tubes.

Q: Who created the wheel and axle?

A: The pottery wheels of the Mesopotamian civilization were an example of wheel and axle, they came 2000 years before the Greeks.

Q: What is the definition of wheel and axle?

A: The wheel and axle is a type of lever consisting of a rope that unwinds from a wheel onto the shaft joining the wheel to change the magnitude and direction of force applied.

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Written by Rajnandini Roychoudhury

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

Rajnandini Roychoudhury picture

Rajnandini RoychoudhuryBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

With a Master of Arts in English, Rajnandini has pursued her passion for the arts and has become an experienced content writer. She has worked with companies such as Writer's Zone and has had her writing skills recognized by publications such as The Telegraph. Rajnandini is also trilingual and enjoys various hobbies such as music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading classic British literature. 

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Fact-checked by Muskan Agarwal

Diploma of Mass Communication specializing in Television and Radio Journalism/Production,

Muskan Agarwal picture

Muskan AgarwalDiploma of Mass Communication specializing in Television and Radio Journalism/Production,

After completing her Bachelor's degree from IT College Lucknow, Muskan pursued a diploma in Radio, Television, and Digital Communication from Apeejay School Of Management, and gained two years of experience in content writing and digital media. She has honed her skills in various areas such as web content writing, copywriting, social media management, and content management, thanks to her work as a Content Writer at Careers360 and a Content Marketing Executive at Doctorsure Pharmaceuticals. Muskan takes pride in creating informative, engaging, and factually-correct content. In her free time, she enjoys socializing with friends and spending time with family.

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