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Issue: #42 - October 2003

In this issue we learn about a Canadian spinning teacher and her spinning wheel collection, and about two unusual Canadian wheels. I report on some wheels that I encountered in my travels in the United States.

Dorothy Budge Kirk: A Profile
by Harriet Boon

Harriet Boon of Desboro, ONT, Canada, had the good fortune to study with Dorothy Budge Kirk in the first graduating class of the Master Spinner program in 1976. Over the years they have remained good friends. Harriet notes that this article "is very much as dictated to me by Dorothy less than two years ago, therefore the story as she wants it told."

I was also a recipient of Dorothy Kirk's belief in sharing. When I first began researching moving-spindle wheels, she very generously shared copies of the Canadian spinning-wheel patents that she and her late husband Harry had collected.

Dorothy Budge Kirk Demonstrating
Dorothy Kirk demonstrating Solomon Dell patented wheel, November 1999.
Courtesy of Willie Waterman, Sun Times newspaper, Owen Sound

Budge Family Spinning Wheel
Budge family spinning wheel.

From Exhibit of Kirk Collection
From exhibit of the Kirk Collection
Both photographs above courtesy of the County of Grey, Owen Sound Museum


An Unusual Canadian Great Wheel
by Willard Taylor

With help from friends who were traveling in Ontario, Willard Taylor of Martinez, CA, acquired an unusual Canadian great wheel. He tells us about some of its unique characteristics.

Photos courtesy of Willard Taylor, with assistance from Dusty the cat.

Great Wheel with Cylindrical Table
Great wheel with cylindrical table

Detail of Great Wheel
Bulbous table end and legs, with less bulbous Dusty


And Still More on Tilt Tension
by Alvin Ramer

Alvin Ramer of Colborne, ONT, Canada, continues the discussion of variations in tilt-tensioning devices on Canadian spinning wheels. While his most recent discovery is similar to one shown in Joan Cummer's book, close examination raises questions about its age.

Tilt Tension Wheel
Tilt tension wheel

Tilt Tension Wheel Detail
Detail of mother-of-all


Three Spinning Wheels at Colonial Williamsburg
by Florence Feldman-Wood

In November 2002, while visiting friends in Williamsburg, VA, I arranged with Assistant Curator Martha Katz-Hyman to view the spinning wheels in the collection of Colonial Williamsburg. I describe three wheels that I found to be especially interesting.

W. Fitz Wheel
"W. Fitz" wheel
Photo courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg

I. Leicht Wheel
"I. Leicht" wheel
Photo courtesy of Old Salem

Jeanne Asplundh Spinning
Jeanne Asplundh spinning on a reproduction wheel at Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg 18th Century Wheel
Original 18th-century English wheel, the model for the reproduction
Photo by permission of Colonial Williamsburg


A "Tilden" Wheel at the Shelburne Museum
by Florence Feldman-Wood

While in Vermont in May 2003, I took the opportunity to look at the spinning wheels in the Shelburne Museum collection. One wheel had a name on it that connected it to other wheels from that area.

Tilden Wheel at Shelburne Museum
"Tilden" wheel at the Shelburne Museum

Tilden Wheel from the Hanecke Collection
"Tilden" great wheel
Collection of Erv Henecke


Spinning Wheels in Iceland
by Jim Packham

Jim Packham of Toronto, ONT, found some interesting spinning wheels in a museum in Iceland when he was there in June 2002.

Icelandic Spinning Wheels
Iceland wheels

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2003 The Spinning Wheel Sleuth