Wheel (heraldry)

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Wheel (heraldic pattern)

The wheel is counted among the common figures of heraldry . This means that his coat of arms is also defined in the tinging , the heraldic coloring. It can be shown in color as well as in metal , often also in natural colors .


The wheel consists entirely of the wheel center (wheel tire / rim) , spokes and a characteristic wheel rim with hub - but it doesn't have to be, each of the components can be missing. The simplicity is usually preferred to the complicated representation, but naturalistic representations or very special wheels are included in the coat of arms as true to the original as possible.

The variety of the wheel in form and use makes a grouping necessary in heraldry in order to achieve clarity of the so-called coat of arms wheels:

  • Probably the most common wheel is the wagon wheel . The simple wagon wheels are important when trade or wagon construction is to be documented, they are numerous and varied, and consistently relates to a traffic situation and the occupation of the wagoner . Both local repair shops are often represented by broken or broken wheels. A wagon wheel can also symbolize a carriage or other vehicle, historically the wheel was in use in front of the wagon and therefore it is also preferred in heraldry.
  • For the old mill trade , the water wheel (with shovels), the wheel-shaped stone millstone (marked by the mill iron on the hub) and the wind wheel (rimless) can be found symbolically in coats of arms, as the widespread use of mills and the importance of supply are one played a central role for a community. The outstanding structure (mill) in the immediate vicinity of the village also made it a point of view from great distances and was therefore an orientation. The windmill blades are oblique in the escutcheon. The use of hydropower in industrial growth prompted many communities to document their progress and acquired wealth with a water wheel in their coat of arms. In the case of water wheels, a river or mill canal is also often displayed in the various forms of representing water.
  • The spinning wheel is also widespread , although it is usually shown as a whole device, less often as a wheel with a spindle . The spinning wheel has the typical turned spokes throughout, but the distinguishing feature is by no means clear.
  • The steering wheels of large and small ships should also be mentioned. Here the wheel stands for shipping and port. Steering wheels often appear in the coats of arms of coastal cities and cities of large inland ports. They are usually covered with an anchor for better assignment, and they also have the characteristic spokes protruding as a handle (but this feature can also designate other types of wheels).
  • The straightening wheel (crushing wheel) has a legal historical significance . The torture tool for the punishment of the wheel found its way into the coat of arms, as it is also an attribute of a saint (see below). The reference to jurisdiction or local saints is seen as an occasion to include a judging wheel in the coat of arms. A coat of arms wheel with the sword shows a connection to the straightening wheel.

With industrialization, more and more modern symbols are used in coats of arms.

  • The cog wheel is a special wheel and one of the common figures used more and more often. In socialist areas it is pronounced and generally symbolizes industry and workers. The clock wheel is a special form . Gears are usually three or four spokes
  • Not only mallets and irons adorn coats of arms from mining regions, the winding tower with the prominent conveyor wheel is also used for coats of arms. It can also be found individually, then often combined with other mountain signs.
  • In addition, the turbine wheel is also included in the coat of arms, in analogy to the water wheel for modern power plant construction
    See propeller (heraldry)
Rims in the coat of arms ( Artern )

Not all wheels are fully represented (as is the case with the wagon wheel in particular). Due to the representation of wheel parts, the assignments are not always certain. The description of the coat of arms can clarify it.

The number of spokes is also important. This number often embodies a local history of a special kind.

In the upper coat of arms , the wheel can occasionally be held by two outstretched arms.

Special wheels

Wheel cross

Radkreuz ( Aukrug )

The wheel cross is a special form of the cross with a nimbus, an atonement cross in the form of an antique disc wheel. An extension of the arms is possible and then the shape comes close to the Celtic cross . Then of course it has nothing to do with the bike.


Impeller, both sides ( small bathroom )

The impeller is a traditional symbol for the railroad . Representations with one or two wings attached to the side of the wheel hub can often be found in the logo of old railway companies. Especially places with important railway junctions often have an impeller in their coat of arms.

Mainz wheel

One of the better-known special wheels is, for example, the Mainz wheel . With a long history and a relatively widespread use , this bike with its own name has managed to reduce the description ( blazon ) almost to mentioning the Mainzer Wheel and everyone familiar with the coat of arms knows the shape and color. It actually represents an axle with two wheels.


As a wheel of law and a wheel of life, it is common in Buddhist heraldry (coat of arms of Sri Lanka ).

Figures connected to wheels (attributes)

St. Catherine ( Altena )

The name cartridges for the wheels ( iconographic attributes ) include:

Typical coats of arms:

List of coats of arms with the wheel

Four-spoke wheels

  • red wheel on a silver background

Five-spoke wheels

Six-spoke wheels

Seven-spoke wheels

Eight-spoke wheels

Eleven-spoke wheels

Twelve-spoke wheels

See also

Web links

Commons : Rad in Heraldry  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. see Category: Broken wheel of St. Catherine , Heraldry of the world