Various forms of wheelbarrows have been used for centuries. ATTRIBUTION: Flickr; pirhan

Various forms of wheelbarrows have been used for centuries. ATTRIBUTION: Flickr; pirhan

Wheelbarrows are incredibly versatile tools with roots that date back to around 200 AD. Some of the earliest wheelbarrows were used by the soldiers in the armies of Chuko Liang, a Chinese general. Chuko Liang is considered to be the inventor of the wheelbarrow. The term “wheelbarrow” is made up of two words: “wheel” which is what the tool uses to move loads and “barrow” which is a derivation of the Old English word “bearwe” which was a device used for carrying loads. Read on to learn some surprising things you probably didn’t know about wheelbarrows.

1. Wood to Metal

Originally, wheelbarrows were constructed entirely of wood. Today’s wheelbarrows feature a more durable metal frame with rubberized front wheel. Although the handles on many modern wheelbarrows are still made of wood, they are generally sealed and often feature rubber grips for comfort.

2. Weight Capacity

Modern wheelbarrows are stronger than ever before. While a lightweight garden wheelbarrow can usually hold up to 150 pounds, heavy-duty wheelbarrows can hold 500 to 600 pounds.

3. Ancient Carvings

Wheelbarrows in ancient China were originally depicted in stone as early as 118 AD. These stone carvings found in various tomb locations in China depicted men pushing wheelbarrows. Other carvings showed wheelbarrows being pulled by oxen.

4. Unique Designs

Over the years, many unique wheelbarrow designs have been marketed. One design intended to improve maneuverability and increase flotation while working in soft soil. Instead of a wheel, these wheelbarrows used a round ball in the front.

5. Garden Decor

Many gardeners have begun to use old or antique wheelbarrows as art forms in their backyard. Wheelbarrows provide plenty of room for planting colorful flowers. The mobility of a wheelbarrow allows for ever-changing layouts in your garden or landscape.

6. Bonfire

Need another use for your old metal wheelbarrow? Throw a few logs on the bottom and light them up. Wheelbarrows can be used as an alternative to a metal fire pit.

7. Wind Power

Since their creation, wheelbarrows have been mostly driven by humans and animals. However, other attempts to streamline wheelbarrows have been made over the years. During the fifth century, the Chinese tried to use wind power to move wheelbarrows by attaching the devices to sails.

8. Range of Uses

Wheelbarrows have had a wide range of uses throughout the centuries. Today, wheelbarrows are often used for gardening and other small projects. In ancient times, wheelbarrows were used on construction sites for carrying moderately light loads.

9. Life of the Party

Don’t have a cooler? No sweat. Just dump your drinks in your wheelbarrow buried in ice. A wheelbarrow turned beverage cooler is just one of the many ways modern folks use wheelbarrows in unusual ways. At parties, children love having wheelbarrow races as they sit inside the barrow as mom or dad pushes them to the finish line.