There’s a great article on ABC.net Australia about the “weightless” wheelbarrow. Its inventor Richard Morris appeared on the program New Inventors (that airs in the land down under) with his new load carrying system that claims to make tipping and carrying large loads much easier. (Though we hope it’ll handle more than the load of balloons we see in the photo.)
From the story:
“As a second-class lever, much of the work when wheeling an ordinary wheel barrow is taken by the hapless worker. However, with the Weightless Wheelbarrow, the load is so well-balanced that very little weight is born, even when tipping!
“The balance point of the Weightless Wheelbarrow is between the two wheels. The balance is such that very little weight is born by the wheeler/lifter. When tipping a load, the front handles extend forward to become ‘ground engage-able legs’ – touching the ground sufficient to allow for a greater stability. At the rear of the Wheelbarrow a locking mechanism with a thumb-release catch on the right handle. This is released for tipping and for suspension of the undercarriage over rough terrain. At other times it is locked to a backing board on the undercarriage”
Basically this is a tandem, two-wheel system where the rear wheel is placed right under the load in order to carry the weight and the front wheel is used mostly for tipping. The lever lock allows one to tip the load easily — and with much less fear of ejecting the load off the wrong side. The result: most of the back-breaking labor of hauling the load around is put on the machine and not the user.
Maybe Mr. Morris has come up with a great solution to what ails the modern wheelbarrow operator. If nothing else comes of this, its still a reminder that you don’t have to accept the way things are. With a few tools and some tinkering there’s no limit on your creativity.
Weightless Wheelbarrow [abc.net.au]