Most efficient in what way, for what purpose, and according to who?
I'm pretty sure that this is all quite subjective is it not?
It's constructed virtually the same as wheelbarrows are constructed today as far as I can tell from the photo: Two 'feet' and a wheel in a triangulated position, with two handles more or less parallel to the ground.
More efficient? Look at all of the extra framework around the wheel. That just adds needless weight. The greatly over sized wheel also clearly weighs far more than a standard Western style wheelbarrow wheel. Carrying around needless extra weight is not more efficient.
And look at all the space the wheel and extra framework take up! Where does the cargo even go?
Imagine our job is to transport pea gravel... You have a Chinese version and I have a regular wheelbarrow. Honestly now, who do you think is going to be faster and more efficient at moving large quantities of gravel around? Where do you even put gravel in that thing?
The article also details that sometimes these Chinese wheelbarrows would be operated by 2 men. Two men? Again who will be more efficient?
Two men utilizing one Chinese wheelbarrow - or two men utilizing *two regular wheelbarrows?
Can the Chinese wheelbarrow be operated with less physical effort? Perhaps. Does that make it more efficient? I'm doubtful.
Lowtechmagazine, Chinese Wheelbarrow
This link will give more info, they are used with buckets or bags. Looks pretty efficient since they don't support any of the weight, the wheel does. Less hunching and no weight would mean it'd have to be a lot better on the physical health of the operators I would think.
Because of the use of buckets or bags I think it'd be faster to load as well, no need to shovel from say a large gravel pit to another pile then to the wheelbarrow, just shovel into a bucket then put bucket on wheelbarrow. Think bucket brigade kind of thing. Although I think it would be pretty situation dependent.
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