So before the hamster wheel were people just trying out, say, putting a lever in their cage and seeing what a hamster made of it? “Look, I can shuffle cedar chips around some.” The inclined plane? Perhaps an Archimedean screw? Or were they thinking of more obviously useful tools, possibly as the first step in training hamsters to do all sorts of light carpentry and home repair, and tried putting in little shovels and rakes? And would a ladder fit in as just a general mechanical device or as a potential hamster tool? If even one hamster living in 1948 had shown some proficiency at using a screwdriver we might be living in a very different world today.