In the late ‘90s and early-to-mid aughts, a wheelwright named Ken Lennox made some lovely artisan spinning wheels in several styles. In addition to a traditional Saxony and a 30” production wheel, he made an Irish Castle wheel known as the Fiona and a sort of chair wheel called Bonnie.
Recently, there has been some increased interest in the Lennox wheels. I previously blogged about the Fiona Irish Castle wheel in a post called “Castle Wheel or Oil Derrick?,” a reference to the wheel’s height. I subsequently acquired a Bonnie but never blogged about her (hey, I can’t put ALL of them up here!).
But with the recent interest, a reader asked to see more about Bonnie, so your wish, gentle reader, is my command. Here are the Fiona and the Bonnie together.
Unfortunately, you don’t quite get the perspective, do you? I borrowed a willing gentleman of about 5’11” to pose with the wheels.
That castle wheel is big! But we’ve been down that road before, so let’s look at the Bonnie:
Pretty wheel with the same features as the Fiona, but without the height. Same double-treadles, mounts for the extra whorls, and spindles for the extra bobbins (not installed here). There is a flax distaff, as well, also not shown. According to the original sales description, her features are:
Bonnie – 16″ Traveler Spinning Wheel
Bonnie measures orifice to floor 29 1/2“ and can be made in either double treadle or single treadle. She is equipped with 12 spokes, threading hook, 4 (4oz.) bobbins, flax cup, and 3 whorls with standard ratios: 5.6-1, 6.4-1, 7.3-1, 8.0-1, 8.8-1, 9.5-1. The three additional bobbins are attached to the frame. Scotch tension is featured on all of the Lennox Spinning Wheels. Bonnie is made only of cherry wood.
Some interesting features. Here is the screw-turn disc to tension the drive band. Turn the disk to raise or lower the flyer assembly and tighten or loosen the band.
The water cup if you are spinning flax:
And my personal favorite, because I always lose these or the cats drag them off to play with, a built-in orifice hook:
Here are the extra whorls:
On the back leg, just under the largest whorl, is the maker’s mark burned into the wood: At last! A wheel maker who signed, dated and NUMBERED his wheels! If you collect antique wheels, you know how frustrating this lack of information can be!
The Lennox wheels are no longer available, but a former dealer has kept their information posted for historical reference. You can learn more about the wheels and their styles here. Keep in mind that this is an old page and the wheels shown are not available, so please don’t bombard the shop with requests for wheels!
Overall, it is a very pretty wheel and a fine spinner. I was happy to be able to reunite her with her sister, Fiona!
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