Back in the day before pallet truck was invented and up to the late 50s, if you wanted a wheel for your barrow you had to make it. The company Tyne Truck and Trolley (see image above) was one of the businesses to start producing material handling equipment in the UK. It has its roots going back to Berlin and the man who ran it escaped with his life in 1940 and set it up in Newcastle, where it operated until the 80s.
Back then it was common place to have a forge, a small foundry, joiners shops, paint spray operation, or fitting and welding. The businesses were largely reactive, although they did have some special products for lifting and handling. The 1-7 in the illustration above was an early days stillage lifter, which was later replaced by a pallet truck. Being entirely mechanical, it was capable of lifting 700kg effortlessly. See no. 1148 in the image below for another example. Such barrows were made of both wood and steel those days.
The principle difference between the various types of equipment shown above are: trucks were made to be pulled, barrows were made to be pushed, trucks were mounted on wheels and trolleys were mounted on castors. The design technique was putting the entire weight on any three wheels or castors for trolleys and trucks. For barrows the whole of the weight was placed on one wheel or double the capacity for a single-wheeled barrow.
You can still get traditional builds, bespoke equipment and clever designs from the few remaining trolley builders left in the UK, if you know where to look. (hint – we do).