This wheel took along to get to me via the “wheel railroad.” One of my Antique Spinning Wheel friends on Ravelry kindly picked her up for me last spring, but we could never make a connection. Finally, we both agreed to meet up at Rhinebeck in October and, so, this lovely finally came home with me.
There are several styles of this wheel around, but no one seems to know anything about their origins.
This is a big wheel. The drive wheel is 32″ in diameter, comparable to a Canadian Production Wheel. But, unlike the CPW, this wheel’s rim is flat, like a walking wheel. Like a CPW, this wheel has a tilt tensioning system, and has the optional Scotch tensioning bar attached to the top of the maidens.
Perhaps oddest of all is her flyer assembly. Where with other flyers, you unscrew the whorl to remove the bobbin, this wheel has a quite a different approach:
That’s right. You unscrew the FLYER. The downside on this is that there is a little knob at the other end of the shaft to prevent the whorl being removed. The problem with this is that it also prevents the rear maiden bearing from being removed. The leather bearing on this wheel is beginning to wear out, so there will be some creative repairs needed in the future.
The flat rim drive wheel has a nicely-fitted lap joint:
Her hub is also interesting in its shape, being very elongated, rather than the roundish “bagel” shape of so many wheels. This hub is more reminiscent of a walking wheel hub.
Another oddity about this wheel is that she has 4 legs. Most “saxony” style bench wheels only have 3 legs. In this case, however, the extra leg comes in handy. The front leg on the farthest side from the spinner shows signs of having originally been the leg that held the treadle pin. When the leg became worn from use, it was simply exchanged to the back position and the good leg moved to the treadle.
And how much use did this wheel see, in order to cause that much wear? Quite a lot, apparently, judging from her treadle:
That, dear readers, is the footprint of some long ago spinner, preserved on the treadle. Notice, too that the treadle bar on the left hand side also shows wear. On these single treadle wheels, the spinner often rested both feet on the treadle while spinning. This wheel, where ever she came from and whomever built her, was a well-loved, well-used workhorse in her time.