Mystery wheels and wheel mysteries

If you can help with any of these unknowns, please get in touch!


Click on a little photograph to see it full size


Unknown wheel with wide tableUnknown wheel with wide table At least five of these wide-table wheels have been seen, from Auckland to invercargill. Several have wheels with spokes; others have the ply wheel with cutouts. They have minor differences in turning, alignment of legs, wear on treadle and other details. But all share the distinctive proportions, the wide shaped table and the rather makeshift bobbin-holder.

Unknown wheel from MotuekaUnknown wheel from Motueka, crank This unusual wheel was left behind when a house in Motueka was sold. It spins well. The tension is adjusted by the nut on the horizontal metal rod that runs between the upright that supports the mother-of-all, and the other little upright beside it. This tilts the mother-of-all support, altering the distance between it and the drive wheel and thus altering the tension of the double drive band. (A similar system is found on some antique "great wheels" from Europe and North America.) Ballbearings smooth the joint between the footman and the crank, and the connection between the footman and the treadle is an adjustable ball and socket joint.

Unknown upright wheel
This little upright wheel was bought in poor condition from a junk shop in Te Puke in 1972. The spindle and flyer sit on top of the maidens.


Unknown wheel in MastertonUnknown wheel in Masterton, marking
This upright wheel looks as though it may owe something to Nagy wheels, though there are a number of differences. It has an unusual marking of three fish, and was apparently made in April 1972.

Ruysch wheel Jack Ruysch of Taupo made these spinning wheels as well as many other wooden objects. This newspaper photograph was published in 1968. Mr Ruysch, who died in 1999, came from an artistic Dutch family of long standing, and his wife Cornelia was a spinner and weaver. She says he made perhaps 20 of these wheels, which were sold in art shops throughout New Zealand as well as in Taupo in the 1960s and 70s. They were made of rimu and had a paper label bearing the trade name "The Chisel".
Does anyone still have one of these unusual-looking wheels?

Unidentified wheel
This old wheel is currently in The Wool Shed (formerly the Shear Discovery Centre) in Masterton. Flyer of unidentified wheel
It has a most unusual spindle and tension system. The spindle is separate from the orifice and the bobbin is removed through the gap. Bobbin tension is adjusted by turning a metal screw which tightens or loosens a spring pressing on the bobbin.

Unidentified upright wheel
The origin of this upright wheel is unknown. Can you identify it?


Unidentified saxony wheel
This large saxony wheel is said to have been made in the Cheviot area of North Canterbury, out of a kauri church pew. Unusually, it has an uneven number (7) of spokes, though there are 8 felloes (the sections of the wheel rim). It has no markings.


Unidentified double-table wheel
This norwegian-style or double table wheel was apparently made by an elderly man for his wife around 1990, possibly in North Canterbury. The spokes are pegged in with wooden pegs. Its only mark is IX - could this mean it was the 9th he made?


Flyer assembly of saxony wheelUnidentified saxony wheel
This saxony style wheel is made of oak. The flyer is hand-forged iron, and the scotch tension brake runs from a peg on the wooden bar above the flyer down to a peg on the base of the mother-of-all.


Wheel in the museum at Waipawa

This small double table wheel is in the Central Hawkes Bay Settlers' Museum at Waipawa, and they would love to know about its origin. The flyer hooks are made of small bent nails.


Mystery upright wheel

This upright wheel was bought as a box of parts at a church fair, where it was being sold as firewood! The owner has put a lot of work into repairing and reassembling it and would very much like to know more about it. There is a brass band around the wheel with grooves at each side.


Mystery upright wheel

This mystery wheel spins very well. Like the Callister it appears to be based on the Peacock wheels but there are many differences.


Mystery upright wheel

This sturdy little wheel has a lever and reel to tension the drive band, somewhat like the Mathieson, but there are few other resemblances.


Mystery horizontal wheel

This unusual looking wheel has no known history. It is made of oiled kauri and very heavy.



home