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View the highlights & photographs from our October 2008 issue.

Issue #62 - October 2008

In this issue we learn about the construction of a pendulum spinning wheel as well as its invention and history. A unique wheel similar to chair-frame wheels is studied, and an unusual device for winding quills is described. Two pictures of textile tools found in unexpected places raise the same question and have the same answer.


An X-Frame Pendulum Wheel

Peter Teal from England is fascinated by a uniquely North American device, the pendulum spinning wheel. Why, he wonders, were these odd machines popular in their day? To find out he decided to build one. He describes the design and construction process as well as his thoughts on how it works.

Jaquie Teal spinning on pendulum wheel
Jaquie Teal spinning on pendulum wheel

The spindle assembly
The spindle assembly

The pendulum arm
The pendulum arm

 

The History of the Pendulum Wheel

An understanding of the historical context of the pendulum wheels helps to answer some of Peterís questions. I review Lyman Wightís patent, the X-frame pendulum wheels built by Justin Wait, and his marketing strategy.

Lyman Wight's patent #14,482
Lyman Wight's patent #14,482

 

A "Unique" Flax Wheel

Among his many spinning wheels Michael Taylor has one that he considers unique. He explains why and its possible place in the evolution of chair-frame wheels.

Front view
Front view

 

A Different Kind of Quiller

Wendy Caffee was looking for a cast-iron spinning wheel when she found an unusual winder or quiller with an attached swift. It is made of cast iron and is unlike any winder she had seen.

Quiller marked J. FINK
Quiller marked J. FINK

 

Two Images of Textile Tools

At about the same time I received two inquiries. Each was about pictures of people using textile tools. In each case the questions was "What is the person in the picture doing?" In both cases the answer was the same. It is the sources of the pictures that are unusual and very different. In the first example the image was found on rare Armenian stamps and currency. The second image was of an engraving on a glass goblet from Silesia currently in a museum in Germany.

Close-up of currency
Close-up of currency
Courtesy of Armeninan Library and Museum

Image on glass goblet
Image on glass goblet
Courtesy of Museum August Kestner

 

Flax Spinning in Silesia

Some time ago Ute Bargman sent me translated sections of an 18th-century German encyclopedia that described spinning and spinning schools in Silesia, which has been part of Germany but is now in Poland.

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