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The History of Wheelie Bins

Historians are divided over the origins of he wheelie bin. What we do know is that fossilised fragments of a wooden wheelie bin were discovered preserved in the volcanic ruins of the city of Pompeii. However prehistoric cave paintings discovered high in the Himalayas seem to show primitive wheeled refuse transit containers being used to contain left over mammoth bones.

These "bins with wheels" were far removed from the modern plastic "wheelie bin". In fact it is very unlikely that either of these products would have been called wheelie bins as they were not used in English speaking countries.

The modern plastic wheelie bin was invented by the Slough based company Frank Rotherham Mouldings on March 12th 1968. It was initially used only for the movement of refuse from one area to another inside the factory. However the novel design was spotted by a sharp eyed Health and Safety Inspector. He saw the potential to reduce the back injuries suffered by refuse collection operatives when lifting the heavy metal wheel-less design of bin which was common in Britain at the time.

However it wasn't until the late eighties that the reign of the wheelie bin truly began with the introduction of refuse collection lorries which automatic mechanisms to pick up and empty the bins. The rest as they say is history! Although actually the rest of the story is the present and that was the history part.

An unexpected outcome of the introduction of the wheelie bin has been the decline in availability of the traditional donkey jacket with it's reinforced upper back protection designed for supporting a non-wheeled bin when carried. The resulting increase in price of donkey jackets had the unfortunate knock on effect of sending many coal merchants out of business.


Black wheelie bin

Black wheelie bin

Black wheelie bin

Black wheelie bin


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