The Wheel As An Extension of Our Foot

The word car is considered to be derived from the Latin word carrus meaning wheeled vehicle. The word car can be defined as a wheeled vehicle that carries its own motor and transports passengers. [1] Inventing cars was not an overnight process; it took many years to be invented. The invention of the car also did not just happen in one location it spread worldwide, in places such as China, Germany, and France.

A French engineer, Nicolas Cugnot in 1769, created the first model of an automobile. He created a steam-powered vehicle. Then in 1835, Thomas Davenport created an electric car. Shortly after in 1886, Karl Benz created a three wheeled, two-seated automobile that was gas-fueled. By the 1900s gas-fueled cars stared to outsell all other types of vehicles. Henry Ford took the production of cars even further by improving the assembly line and installing a conveyer belt in his factories in 1913. This reduced production costs for cars and assembly time. With this improvement, Ford became the largest car manufacturer. [1]

Cars have evolved so much since then. Just thinking about the features and abilities of the cars back then, I picture a vehicle with four wheels, that runs on a road and can carry two passengers. Cars now can carry up to eight people and come with the features of air conditioning, navigation systems, in car technologies such as Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity, and even the ability to just push a button to start your car up. Back then people traveled from one place to the next by walking or riding a horse, but with cars people were now able to travel distances much quicker. Cars give us the benefit of independence. We can easily get to one place to the other. They have also given us the ability to travel to different places and visit our families and friends, which keeps us connected to them.

After reading the Medium is the Massage, I perceived the meaning to be the medium is the message itself, or it could also mean that the way a message is transmitted affects how the message is received. So for example, television is visual so viewers will be affected by the images they see. I also liked how Marshall McLuhan defined a medium as an extension of the human senses or ourselves. In the book, he said the wheel is an extension of the foot, and the book is an extension of the eye.[2] Also the phone would be an extension of our voice. Each of these mediums enables us to do more than our bodies could ever do on our own. I never thought of technology as being an extension of a human sense. So the wheels of cars extend our foot and so with cars we are able to travel far distances in a quicker way than with walking. As I stated before, cars enable us to do far more than our own two feet would allow us to ever do.

2. McLuhan, Marshall. “The Medium is the Massage”


2 thoughts on “The Wheel As An Extension of Our Foot”

  1. I find the evolution of cars very interesting. I think how fast we have been able to change cars is very fascinating. I remember when in history class, I was taught how it was animals then the wheel was invented and now we have cars that doesn’t even require a person to drive it. I like how McLuhan mentioned that the wheel is an extension of our foot because it is. We wouldn’t find the necessity to invent cars if we didn’t need another way to transport ourselves. Wheels and cars are extensions of our foot because it helps us ge to places faster and it is more convenient.


  2. I think this is almost poetic. Then again, I, as many people do, have a special love for my car. Growing up in a small town a car was necessary to get from Point A to Point B. Once one acquired their own car everyone saw it and was able to identify the car’s owner on sight. This is perhaps a different perception of the car as an extension of us, but still, cars were seen as much a part of us in that community as our clothes or our families. Cars allow us to connect with other people, but they also allow other people another connection (or association, perhaps) with us.


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