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Who Invented the Potter's Wheel?

A potter's wheel is an important tool in creating pottery.
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.

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