Who Invented the Potter's Wheel?

Hands shaping clay on potter's wheel image by fotosergio from Fotolia.com

Pottery has served an important function throughout history. The potter's wheel has had a significant impact on the production of pottery and is still considered a valued tool to this day.


No one individual can take credit for developing the potter's wheel, but discovery of the ancient pottery equipment has helped in establishing its origin. A simple revolving wheel dating back to 3000 B.C. was discovered in Mesopotamia, the area between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers. Pottery was considered a skilled craft in Egypt.


The potter's wheel serves to expedite the production of pottery; it allows potters to quickly manufacture their pieces. A potter's wheel also creates a more stable working environment so that pottery can be created levelly and evenly.


The first potter's wheel was a small stand that the potter could slowly move around while shaping the clay in a fixed center. This later evolved into a revolving potter's wheel that allowed the potter to turn the wheel with one hand while forming the clay with the other. The most modern version of the potter's wheel, called a kick wheel because it is manipulated with a foot, allows the potter to use both hands to work the clay.