- Concentric-Patterned Wheel
Late 18th century, Mid 19th century
North-Western India, Rajasthan
As with many a functional object in India, the wheel too is ornamented. In this case, both the hub and the felloes are embellished with incised concentric lines. Its iron tyre was crafted using the hoop technique – a detail evidenced by its single welded joint. An iron ring, exactly measured so that it is marginally smaller than the wheel to be so shod, is heated until it expands enough to be fitted onto the wheel. The tyre shrinks as it cools, gripping the wheel and ensuring its many wooden parts – the hub, felloes and spokes – are held in place. The iron tyre buffers the wheel from any damage it may suffer on impact with jagged rocks etc, and if required, can be easily and relatively economically replaced, thus prolonging the life of the wheel. The hub is likewise rimmed with metal for additional protection.
This wheel is designed for endurance rather than for speed. While it would have to rotate a far greater number of times to cover the same distance as a larger wheel, it would have greater ability to withstand weight. It may therefore be assumed that the cart the wheel was intended for was used for transportation of goods rather than for conveyance.