This is the new home of nzspinningwheels.info, which Mary Knox founded in 2005. She is now passing it on to Shan to look after. Mary will continue to blog about spinning wheels at https://nzspinningwheels.wordpress.com/
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.
The wheels are divided into three groups according to their style:
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
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
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:
Colthart, Rudhall and Wing
Roderick Fraser (“Roderick the Miller”)
Grace (Mike Keeves)
Pipy (Philip Poore)
INDEX of names of wheel models and makers.
Some NZ makers’ instructions are here. The link will take you to a different site.
Recently added to this site:
22 March 2021 – two spinning wheels made by J. Murrary Cardno of Te Anau came to our attention. One upright wheel was found in Australia and a Saxony wheel made in 1979 was found in Colorado.
22 March 2021 – three spinning wheels bearing labels marked Collinson in the mystery wheel section
1 January 2021 – two new pictures of a Romney wheel
22 February 2020 – a new entry about saxony wheels made by Ron Shearman of Marton.
6 December 2019 – update on biographical information on Morrison, another Norwegian-style wheel by Aston, and an elaborate Saxony wheel by maker Mr McDonald was found.
This site deals only with New Zealand-made spinning wheels. Current models by Ashford and Majacraft are mostly not included as details can be found on the companies’ own websites. Nor do we include makers who have only produced one or two wheels, though we are always keen to hear about them.
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, 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, we are grateful to the many groups and individuals who have let us photograph their wheels or sent photographs and patiently answered our questions. It couldn’t have been done without your help.
Copyright Mary Knox and Shan Wong 2005 – 2021. You are welcome to download any pictures or text for your own interest and research but please ask us for permission before publishing them on the Web or in any other way.