An identification guide to

New Zealand Spinning Wheels

and their makers

Over the years many lovely spinning wheels (and a few not so lovely) have been made in New Zealand. Quite a few have been exported, or changed hands several times, and knowledge of their makers has often been lost. The aim of this site is to help you, if you have a spinning wheel you believe comes from New Zealand, to identify it and perhaps find out a little about the maker.

Cover of book

The book "New Zealand Spinning Wheels and their Makers" is now available electronically!
Find out more

Some pages of Australian spinning wheels are at

Added 26 October 2015 - A better picture of Rappard Mitzi and a correction and addition about dates to the Pipy page and Sprite.
Added 29 August 2015 - Another new maker - Don McIvor of Lower Hutt. And as several Pipy Sprites have come to light lately, it seems only right that they have an entry of their own.
Added 11 August 2015 - Corrected dates for Ashford Scholar.
Added 27 February 2015 - A new maker: Keith Campbell of Auckland!
Added 26 October 2014 - Another example of a Burtenshaw wheel, and we now know Mr Hegan's first name.

The wheels are divided into three groups according to their style:

Listing of saxony wheels
Saxony wheels look like the popular idea of a typical spinning wheel, and are probably the oldest type. They have a more or less sloping table with the flyer assembly at the high end and the drive wheel at the other, like this attractive Nicolson wheel.
Listing of saxony-style wheels
Listing of upright wheels

Upright wheels (sometimes called castle wheels) such as this much-loved Beulah by Peacock have the flyer assembly directly or almost directly above the drive wheel. They are favoured for their usually small convenient size and the fact that their central orifice is comfortable whether the spinner spins with the right or the left hand forward.
Upright wheels A - G
Upright wheels H - P
Upright wheels Q - Z

Listing of norwegian-style wheels
Norwegian-style or double table wheels were first made in Norway, probably in the early 19th century. The table is absolutely horizontal, and the flyer assembly is raised on a second smaller table supported by (usually) four posts. They are often very handsome, like this one by Ken Bartlett.
Listing of norwegian-style wheels

Mystery wheels and wheel mysteries - there are still many wheels whose maker is unknown, and a number of makers for whom there is little information.
Can you help with any of these?

Notes on some interesting makers and their wheels:
Ken Bartlett
Ian Baynes
John Beauchamp
Roderick Fraser ("Roderick the Miller")
Joe Gibson
Grace (Mike Keeves)
Patrick Jennings
G.W. Madigan
Harold Martin
John Moore
Istvan Nagy
Pipy (Philip Poore)
Sleeping Beauty
Charles Tyler

RESOURCES - links, books and places to visit.

INDEX of names of wheel models and makers.

This site deals only with New Zealand-made spinning wheels. Current models by Ashford, Baynes and Majacraft are mostly not included as details can be found on the companies' own websites. Nor do I include makers who have only produced one or two wheels, though I am always keen to hear about them.

This is a "work in progress". If you have or know of a New Zealand-made wheel that is missing from these pages, or if you have interesting information about any of the makers, I'd love to hear about it. Do please get in touch.

Lots of people have helped with information and encouragement. A special thankyou is due to Creative Fibre (the New Zealand Spinning Weaving and Woolcrafts Society) and the Canterbury Area of the Society. Much of the material here comes (with permission) from their file on spinning wheels in New Zealand.

In addition, I am grateful to Emma Alger, Holly Bennett, Anthea Davidson, Lyndsay Fenwick, Barbara Gibson, Helen Harker, Stella Hewson, Mike Keeves, John McGowan, Sue McLeod, Philip Poore, Sydney Shep, Charles Wong, Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Christchurch Guild of Weavers and Spinners, Eastbourne Historical Society, Levin Spinners, Nelson Creative Fibre Spinning & Weaving Guild, Palmerston North Spinners and Weavers, Richmond Spinning & Weaving Group, Rotorua Creative Fibre, Taupo Creative Fibres, Taupo Day Spinners, Tauranga Spinners and Weavers, Tawa Spinners and Weavers, Wairarapa Spinners and Weavers Guild, Wellington Handweavers and Spinners, and the many many people who have let me photograph their wheels or sent me photographs and patiently answered my questions. It couldn't have been done without your help.

Any mistakes are mine, all mine!

Copyright Mary Knox 2005 - 2014. You are welcome to download any pictures or text for your own interest and research but please ask me for permission before publishing them on the Web or in any other way.