Posts Tagged ‘regional characteristics’

Distinguishing Characteristics – Spinning Wheels

March 28, 2008

Just as you can tell a time period on antique furniture from the style, turnings, adornments, wood types etc. spinning wheels also show such distinctions.

Sometimes we are lucky enough to come across signed and dated wheels, other times there are no concrete signs of where, when and by whom a wheel was made. Still, some makers are soooo  distinct in their woodworking that certain wheels can be attributed to them with assurance.

Some things that can suggest where a wheel has been made are:

Wool Wheels:

  • wheel diameter
  • number of sections in the drive wheel
  • grooves in the drive wheel, and how many
  • turnings on drive wheel spokes
  • tension devices
  • knob on top of drive wheel post
  • table decorations  ( beading, chip carving )
  • number of legs ( some Wool Wheels have four legs  instead of the usual three )
  • arrangement of legs
  • shape  of foot on legs
  • turning on legs
  • bands of color on legs, spokes, spindle post
  • width of the rim  of drive wheel ( they can vary from 1 ” – 4″  )
  • Whether or not the table  is a hewn plank of equal dimensions or split from a tree with one side wider . The side that comes from the center of the tree  is wedge shaped
  • tool marks on the underside of the table

With saxony wheels, many of the above characteristics apply with a few others:

  • axle post supports between the posts and the table
  • types of tensioning devices
  • double drive bands,single drive
  • double flyers, double treadles, double wheels
  • turnings of the posts, maidens, legs,spokes 

This accounts for the tremendous amout of variation among spinning wheels.

 In looking for a NY Wool Wheel, a barrel tensioning device is indicative(though they have been found elsewhere) A  drive wheel with 5 grooves also indicates a NY wheel, more specifically  – Owego NY.  A double wheel, double treadle chair wheel is a good indicator of NY as well, particularly Greene County.

Pennsylvania Wool Wheels often feature a “sliding table” tensionind device, and are  attributed to Eastern PA.

 Elaborate  Drive Wheel spokes on Wool Wheels indicate a possible connection to Berks County PA.