Design Knowledge Intermediary

Ballbarrow, 1974

James Dyson

Plastic, steel


The Ballbarrow was a type of wheelbarrow designed by James Dyson and released in 1974 in the UK.

It featured a moulded plastic hopper on a steel frame and a spherical plastic wheel. This benefited all-terrain use as the ball did not dig into the ground like a conventional wheel and steering was much easier.

The original design featured a galvanised steel hopper which was so robust, that many are still in use today. Later, the design was changed to a plastic hopper. The plastic hopper was considered easier to clean than galvanized steel alternatives; however, it was less robust, less suitable for mixing cement in and tended to age quickly in the sheds and garages it was typically stored in.

The Ballbarrow won the Building Design Innovation Award in 1977. Dyson continued with the ball-wheel concept in his design for the Trolleyball boat launcher in 1978, and the DC15 vacuum cleaner in 2005.