Man Invents the Wheel

Clay and the Pottery Wheel

The Potter's Wheel Through the Ages

A prehistoric pottery wheel.


Isreal, 1500-1200 BC




Ancient Greece
This wheel would have been attached to a vertical axis that revolved around the socket.

Inventing the Potter's Wheel

When a pot is built by hand, it is impossible for it to be perfectly round.

The solution to this problem is the potter's wheel, which has been a crucial factor in the history of ceramics.

It is not known when or where the potter's wheel is introduced. It is likely that it developed very gradually, from a platform on which the potter turns the pot before shaping another side (thus avoiding having to walk around it).

By about 3000 BC a simple revolving wheel is a part of the potter's equipment in Mesopotamia.

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Interlude Film - Potters Wheel

Modern Pottery Wheels

Electric Wheel

A common electric pottery wheel found in many classroooms. This wheel is operated by an electric motor and rubber belt. The pedal controls the speed of the rotation.

Kick Wheel

This wheel rotates when the user moves the bottom disk with his/her foot and as a result, spins the wheel at the top simultainiously.

Hybrid Wheel

Another variety of potter's wheel, the hybrid wheel allows the potter to have a choice of manual or automatic.


What type of potter's wheel(s) does your classroom have?

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