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Current Issue #56 - April 2007

In this issue we discover a tradition of using handspindles in America. We learn about two Connecticut great wheels and the material found in their hubs. More unusual spinning wheels are presented, one found in Hungary and two found in Canada.


Discovering a Handspindle Tradition in America
by Jerry Yanchek

When Jerry Yanchek came across an heirloom handspindle and handspun linen, she began researching them in the German-immigrant communities in her own area of southeastern Pennsylvania. She found evidence of a tradition of handspindle use in some expected but also in some unexpected places.

Handspindle found in southeastern Pennsylvania with handspun linen thread
Handspindle found in southeastern Pennsylvania with handspun linen thread

Early 1900s photograph of woman spinning on handspindle
Early 1900s photograph of woman spinning on handspindle

 

A Tale of Two Connecticut Great Wheels
by Grace Hatton

Grace Hatton recently acquired two great wheels that originated in Connecticut. They are signed and have brass bearings or bushings. They raised questions about the makers and the bearings. The one marked W. HOPKINS is similar to one described in a 1903 booklet about spinning wheels.

Great wheel marked W. HOPKINS
Great wheel marked W. HOPKINS

Detail of drive-wheel hub on W. HOPKINS wheel
Detail of drive-wheel hub on W. HOPKINS wheel

Great wheel marked JB 1147
Great wheel marked JB 1147

 

Brass Bearings on Great Wheels

Sue Bacheller did some follow-up genealogical research on these Connecticut wheel makers. Three other readers, Michael Taylor, Craig Evans, and Patty Frye, responded to the question about great wheels with brass bearings.

Patty Frye¹s great wheel
Patty Frye¹s great wheel

 

An Unusual Spinning Wheel From Hungary
by Michael Taylor

Although Michael Taylor has focused his wheel collecting on American spinning wheels from before 1900, now and then a wheel is so exceptional that he has to acquire it to study. He describes what he learned about this very unusual spinning wheel that originated in Hungary.

Unusual spinning wheel from Hungary
Unusual spinning wheel from Hungary

 

Two Unusual Spinning Wheels
by Donna Lonergan

One of the two unusual spinning wheels that Donna Lonergan found in Canada has maidens for three bobbin/flyer units. Where the wheel originated and how it worked are still unanswered questions. I add a few notes about other examples of three-flyer wheels found in Scotland. Donna found the other unusual wheel in Nova Scotia. It came with its own history.

Three-flyer wheel marked J. MILNE
Three-flyer wheel marked J. MILNE

Top view, J. MILNE wheel
Top view, J. MILNE wheel

Spinning wheel from Nova Scotia
Spinning wheel from Nova Scotia

Side view
Side view

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