Guide to New Zealand Spinning Wheels

is the new home of, 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

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:
Ken Bartlett
Ian Baynes
John Beauchamp
Colthart, Rudhall and Wing
Roderick Fraser (“Roderick the Miller”)
Joe Gibson
Grace (Mike Keeves)
Patrick Jennings
G.W. Madigan
Harold Martin
John Moore
Istvan Nagy
Pipy (Philip Poore)
Ron Shearman
Sleeping Beauty
Charles Tyler

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:

11 January 2023 – one of at least 8 wheels made by R. A. Smith of New Plymouth surfaced recently and photos are in the mystery wheel section
2 June 2022 – George Madigan’s aluminium wheel was finally located. You can read about it here.
6 September 2021 – a new entry about saxony wheels made by John Murray Cardno.
22 March 2021  three spinning wheels bearing labels marked Collinson in the mystery wheel section

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 – 2023. 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.