Spindle wheels are used for spinning cotton and short-length wools. A spindle wheel can twist the fibers much tighter than a flyer wheel since the operations of twisting and winding-on are independent of each other. Warp threads on a loom need to be tightly twisted to withstand the tension between the beams and abrasion from the reed. Tight twisting also helps the short fibers maintain integrity as a thread.
Spindle wheels are usually operated by hand rather than a foot treadle. These wheels were also easier to manufacture than the flyer assembly wheels.
Elizabeth is shown here trying out the prototype treadle on her new pendulum spinning wheel. The wheel was missing the treadle when we bought it so Jim was in the process of designing a replacement. The wheel was purchased in Pennsylvania in 2003.
This unusual wheel was manufactured around the time of the Civil War. Pendulum wheels and trolley wheels are referred to as Patent Wheels. The Patent wheels allowed the spinner to remain seated while producing thread and yarn.
The large ball of wood is a modification to replace the missing iron ball counterweight that was original to the wheel. The small wooden weight was removed.
She has since taken the wheel on several show-and-tell demonstrations. On a good day a fine, long (not quite 8 feet) thread can be spun easily.