In field medical exercises with the Army Reserve, we use two-wheeled stretchers to transport patients. These stretchers are amazing. Due to fascination on my part, I decided to do a bit a research about these stretchers.
The wheel was developed around the 5th Century BC in Mesopotamia1. There were no major changes in the wheel until the 19th century when pneumatic tires were invented. Two-wheeled stretchers were used back into at least the 19th century. Baron Mundy’s and Neuss’s two-wheeled stretchers2 are shown in the references below. I found in Google Book Search the description of two-wheeled carts to transport patients in the Army Surgeon’s Manual printed in 18643. We used these stretchers to move bags across the base in Bosnia when we moved into our quarters. They transport patients over all sorts of terrain and we continue to care for patients on these stretchers in the emergency treatment areas. The base has two wheels and stabilization bars at each end. These are raised when the cart is wheeled. The canvas stretcher on top is separate and also can be hand carried.
This is one amazing stretcher that with minimal modifications has been used over 140 years on the battle field. Modifications may further improve its durability, maneuverability, transportability, and other features, but it is still quite an invention.