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Current Issue: #50 - October 2005

In this issue we revisit an early patented spinning wheel and see how otherwise nice spinning wheels have been overdecorated. We learn about an unusual upright wheel and have an inquiry about a strange device.


Skinner/Howland Patent Wheel Revisited
by Michael Taylor

When Michael Taylor of Marietta, OH, obtained an example of an early patented spinning wheel, he decided to compare it to the small number of existing examples of this design. He found some interesting inconsistencies that led to more questions.

Skinner/Howland Patent Wheel
Skinner/Howland Patent Wheel

 

Beneath the Grime and Crime: A Spinning Wheel Encrusted
by Michael Holcomb

Michael Holcomb of New Hope, PA, recently acquired a double-flyer wheel that had been badly mistreated - it had been decorated with pseudogilding and decoupage. He thought the pictures might help him figure out when the wheel was built, but instead they took him in another direction.

Encrusted T-Top Double-flyer Spinning Wheel Collection of Michael Holcomb
"Encrusted" T-Top Double-flyer Spinning Wheel
Collection of Michael Holcomb

Detail of T-Top
Detail of T-Top
Collection of Michael Holcomb

 

Two Embellished Spinning Wheels
by Florence Feldman-Wood

I was reminded that the American Textile History Museum (ATHM) in Lowell, MA, had a couple of spinning wheels that had also been painted and decoupaged. When I took a closer look at them, I made an amazing discovery.

First Embellished Spinning Wheel
First Embellished Spinning Wheel
Courtesy of American Textile History Museum

Detail of picture on treadle of Second Embellished Wheel
Detail of picture on treadle of Second Embellished Wheel
Courtesy of American Textile History Museum

 

An Unusual Upright Spinning Wheel
by Jessie Hoadley

Attracted to its design, Jessie Hoadley of Salem, CT, bought an unusual upright wheel on eBay last year. When she tried to discover its origin, she found that it was a mystery.

Unusual upright spinning wheel
Unusual upright spinning wheel
Collection of Jessie Hoadley

 

Inquiry: A Flax Box
by Florence Feldman-Wood

When two different people ask about the same strange device, it is time to take a good look at it. First Patricia Jenkins of Lee, NH, asked about a "flax box," then Michael Smith at ATHM asked about a rope-making machine. They were structurally the same kind of object. But the questions are what was their function, and how do they work.

First Example
First Example

Second Example
Second Example

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