Nothing to do with Reinventing the Wheel
In any story that takes place in One Million BC
, you're going to see someone invent the wheel. Common fodder for It Will Never Catch On
. Often the wheel is some shape other than round, indicating that that iteration is probably an Obvious Beta
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- Used in a beer commercial once where they're going to be late to a party, then someone shows them their new invention, the wheel. Subverted in that the wheel makes things more difficult because they just use it as a tray to carry to beer on. To quote the cavemen: "Wheel Suck!"
- Similarly, in a Volvic mineral water commercial, it looks like a Neanderthal just invented the wheel, but it turns out he invented something else.
- There are a few Promotional Consideration spots for some patent company which shows B.C. caveman "accidentally" inventing the wheel, a unicycle, wheelbarrow...
- On The Firesign Theatre's album Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers, the host of a "this day in history" TV show claims that the wheel was invented by Mr. George Antrobus on the 38th of Cunegonde, 1938 BC. ("And just in time!" chirps his female co-host.)
- In Jack Kirby's 2001: A Space Odyssey comic, one of the earlier issues credits the wheel to the intervention of the monolith. Only Kirby could draw a two-page Splash Panel about the invention of the wheel and make it epic.
- Depicted in Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe. The inventor of the wheel shows it to his friend, expectantly saying "Well?" His friend says "A tray with a hole? Maybe you should see the spiritual adviser..."
- The World of Motion ride that used to be at Epcot had a scene with three attempts at creating the wheel, one of which was the right one.
- In the original The Moomins comics, the family get sent back in time and set to work as slaves in a quarry. Moominpappa invents the wheel and tells the other slaves it'll help them carry rocks... but since he doesn't explain how, they try to carry the wheel and the rocks at the same time.
- Thor invented the wheel in an early B.C.. Unfortunately, he couldn't work out what it was for. Eventually the girls saw him looking dejected, and decided to cycle over and see what was wrong...
- In one episode of Fraggle Rock, the Fraggles plan to use a flat, round object as a cover for a bucket of water. Wembley explains that the object is an invention of his: "I call it the wheel. It doesn't work, though — it just keeps rolling away!"
- In the first episode of Dinosaurs, a caveman triumphantly holds his new invention, a stone circle, over his head. Presumably it's the wheel — but no, it's the hula hoop.
- "Caveman Grover" invents the wheel in a Sesame Street skit about shapes. He and Biff are trying to get a heavy rock to the top of a hill. First he tries affixing square wheels, then triangular ones. He finally gets the shape right, and gets the rock to the top of the hill — but it gets away from them and rolls back down the hill, landing on top of Grover. He decides that his next invention will be the Band-Aid.
- It was something of an underlying theme in the original BIONICLE saga that the characters knew what a wheel was (since they used clockwork-mechanisms and round disks on a grand scale), but they never thought they could fix it onto a cart or something — they instead slapped mechanical insect-legs on everything that didn't float. When a group of Toa came across an ancient warrior whose feet had been outfitted with wheels to form roller-skates, they began wondering why anyone would want to wear their gears on their feet. Despite the fact that many animals they were very familiar with had tank threads for legs, and that some Toa did in fact use chain-sawed roller-blades already...
- Done quite literally in Age of Empires.
- And Civilization. In the fourth game at least, certain civilizations start with knowledge of the wheel, while other will have to research it.
- In Star Control II, the short history of the Zoq-Fot-Pik includes the story of how their distant ancestors discovered the wheel, fire, and religion simultaneously: a Zoq was run over by a round, flat stone that had been knocked off a mountain and super-heated by a lightning strike, and the Fot and Pik assumed he had gone on to a better place, "presumably one without lethal flaming wheels".
- In the rarely seen Caveman Arc of Arthur, King of Time and Space, Gawain invented the wheel ... sorry, I mean "invented a round stone he could wallop Pellinore over the head with".
- We have them, so someone evidently did. However, there WERE cultures that never invented the wheel — generally Mesoamerican ones. These were cultures in which backbreaking weights had to be carried by either pack animals or, more likely, poor people.
- Any example of a "caveman" inventing the wheel is a case of artistic license, as the wheel was invented not by beetle-browed cave-dwelling nomads but by modern-looking, village-dwelling agriculturalists. In fact, the wheel was invented shortly before writing first emerged in Mesopotamia.
- Likewise trading fire for the wheel, or both being invented during one lifetime. Fire was first controlled something around a million years ago (i.e., before we were actually human), and its use became widespread hundreds of thousands of years before the wheel. Check the "fire" article on The Other Wiki for details.