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Mr Harrison of Port Chalmers, Dunedin made these in the early 80s and perhaps before that. Their only marking is the carving at the back of the support post. The Ashford-type flyer is released by tilting the hinged back maiden, but unfortunately this was apt to happen spontaneously. One spinner writes “When i had one of these wheels it would wait until you hit a certain speed then maliciously spit the flyer out – until I beat it into submission with a velcro strap.” The owner of the one pictured has had a spring added joining the two maidens.
Imp wheels were produced by Keneila (Ken and Sheila Green) after Philip Poore stopped making the Wendy, in response to a demand for such light, portable, reliable wheels. Sheila Green commissioned Ashford (who had bought the Wendy jigs and patterns) to construct them, after making some changes to the design for copyright reasons.
They were released about 1990. Over 100 were made but most were taken to the UK from 1991 and sold there. They have a stamp on the treadle showing a spinning wheel with “Keneila” below.
Jane wheels were made by Ivan McGreevy of Auckland, who also made the popular Marion and the folding Fleur. The Jane was intended as a smaller, more economical wheel than the Marion. Like all Mr McGreevy’s wheels, they are (or were originally) clearly labelled.
Patrick Jennings began making upright wheels in the 1940s for wartime spinners, and eventually made at least 50. They vary in details but are characteristically almost entirely of metal, using a drive wheel and sometimes other parts from a treadle sewing machine.
More on Patrick Jennings and his wheels
A.J. Kite of Hastings signed this wheel. Its date is unknown but at some stage an Ashford mother-of-all and flyer have been substituted for the originals. However, the original bobbin and oak flyer still survive.
“Leola Masterton 1986” is inscribed on a plate on the end of the table of this little wheel, which was one of about 20 made by Leo Phelps of Masterton. It looks very like a Romney though it has a wooden whorl (the Romney has a metal one) and it is smaller in most of its dimensions.
Little Grace and Little Grace Special – see Grace wheels in upright wheels A – G.
Little Peggy wheels were made by Rappard of Dunedin.
The Little Peggy in the photo on the left has underneath “Made in NZ J. Rappard P.O.Box 1121 Dunedin 2319 / 5 / 77” so it should date from 1977. Its flywheel and turnings and general appearance are close to the Wee Peggy except that it has two full maidens and the flyer is beside them not centred.
There has been a mystery about the wheel in the photograph on the Little Peggy leaflet at right. It differs from the Peggies we are used to in legs, maidens, and much of the turning in between. However, such a wheel has now come to light, signed JR and dated 1969, very early in the history of Rappard wheels. It seems likely that one or more of these were made as prototypes, and then it was redesigned. There is more about this anomalous Peggy and other early Rappard wheels here.
Mr G.W. (Bill) Madigan of Te Atatu, Auckland made a number of these folding wheels, probably in the 1980s. They have some apparent similarity to Majacraft wheels but are double drive, and drive band tension is adjusted by tilting the mother-of-all with a long metal screw, more like the Pipy Wendy. They are stamped with the maker’s name and address and a serial number.
More on G.W. Madigan and his wheels
Marion wheels were made Ivan McGreevy of Torbay, Auckland, starting in 1981. They were named after his wife’s mother. Many of the North Shore Spinning Group bought Marions as fast as he could turn them out. He had no retail outlets but made all his wheels to order, from recycled kauri.
Some variations are also known, including a few with a solid wheel – the one illustrated bears a label which firmly identifies it as a Marion by Mr McGreevy. The footman (whether wood or metal) always passes through the little round table.
Ian Mathieson of Cambridge made these wheels after retiring as a bank manager – the first one shown was made of kauri salvaged from a Methodist church that had burned down. It is signed in ink under the treadle and dated September 1978.
His wheels have a most unusual drive band tension system: a little arm attached to the mother-of-all has a slot, along which slides a short axle. On the back end of this axle is a free-running wheel (idler wheel) over which the drive band passes, and the band is tightened or loosened by sliding the axle with its wheel to left or right. On the front end of the axle is a knob which secures it in place.
The second wheel shown is a Club Mini. Mr Mathieson sent this one to Canada for its owner in the late 1970s. A smaller, sturdier model, it was created in the mid 1970s for the use of a spinning enterprise in a small Fijian village: Mr Mathieson wrote about his visits there in The Web magazine in March 1976.
The instruction sheet that came with a Club Mini can be seen here. Most of it should apply equally to other Mathieson wheels.
Garth Matterson made about 17 of these wheels in New Plymouth in the 1970s and in Auckland in the 1980s. They were made from recycled kauri, and have a small formica plate engraved with his name attached to the side of the table.
A Saxony wheel made by McDonald and considered to be a one-off surfaced in 2019.
More on Mr. McDonald and his wheels
Mecchia produced about 20 of these upright wheels in the early 80s, but they did not prove as popular as their saxony and norwegian-style wheels and were soon discontinued. This one was bought in July 1986 and is made of Southland beech except for the flyer which is mahogany, a stronger wood.
Mr Milsom of Dunedin made wheels for some of the Balclutha spinners during World War 2. He may have been from Scotland; certainly this well-made little wheel looks a lot like many from Shetland. The name MILSOM is stamped in tiny letters on the side of the table.
If anyone has more information about Mr Milsom, please contact me.
Walter Morrison was born in the UK in 1877. He travelled widely and drove traction engines in the UK and Malta. Eventually, he settled in Australia, and then came to Christchurch, where he worked as a welder for what was then the Christchurch Tramway Board.
After his retirement during the second World War, at the age of 65, he took up spinning and knitting long woollen socks for seamen. He spun with the ladies of the Navy League, and made spinning wheels for them as well. In 1973, at the age of 96, he was still spinning about 10 hours a week. He also wove rugs and blankets.
It is said that he would only make wheels for people he knew. There are differences between his wheels. The one below was made around 1968, of pine, rimu and possibly mahogany. The little kate belongs to it.
Nagy wheels were, and still are, well thought of, and the upright model was exported to several countries as well as sold locally. The metal plate on this one reads 1972 BY I. NAGY WELLINGTON NEW ZEALAND, and there is a handwritten “16” under the table. It is made from kauri, a New Zealand native timber.
More on Istvan Nagy and Nagy wheels
H.H. Napier made these wheels in his factory, called Glenfield Industries,in Takapuna on Auckland’s North Shore in the late 1960s. The back view shows clearly the distinctive profile of the drive wheel.
He also made a saxony style.
More on Mr Napier and his wheels
Mr Nicholson of Waipawa (not to be confused with Mr Nicolson with no h, in the ‘saxony wheels’ section!) made these large wheels from 1967. Formerly among the mysteries, they are now identified. Six or seven have been seen, each one very slightly different but falling into 2 groups: drivewheel with spokes, or ply drive wheel with cutouts. It seems that the ply drive wheel may have come later, as an economy measure. The evidence for this, and the series of happy coincidences that led to their identification, are described here.
Bill O’Connell of Te Mahia on the East Coast of the North Island has made half a dozen of these wheels, based originally on a design in a Woodworker magazine. They are not signed but have a little shamrock on the treadle.
Peacock wheels are very compact and can be dismantled for travel by unscrewing the metal parts. There is a hook instead of an orifice, and the table is a characteristic triangle shape. The rod connecting the treadle to the footman passes through a slot in the back leg. The metal balance weights are visible in the back of the wheel.
This wheel was bought from Mr Peacock in 1979.
This second Peacock is one of Mr Fomotor’s. The connector rod still passes through the back leg, but the front of the flywheel and other turned parts are much simpler, and the flywheel is smaller (compare it with the width of the table).
A different Peacock, called Peacock Traditional, was apparently made by Mr Simon during the last days of the company. The one shown here was bought in the US about 1986, bears a Peacock label and came with a leaflet from Simon Export and Import Associates in Auckland, which announces “In response to the requests of many of our customers we are proud to introduce the Peacock Traditional Upright Spinning Wheel…” The flyer assembly is typically Peacock, but the lower part of the wheel – legs, treadle, table and drive wheel – are unmistakeably Crofter! In between, there is an unusual drive band tension system: the metal bolt with the wooden knob screws up into the flyer and moves it up or down: major adjustments would presumably involve also using the wing nut that secures the metal socket on the support post.
Beulah by Peacock- see upright wheels A – G.
Eric Phillips lived first in Normanby, Hawera, and later moved to Papamoa where he worked as a boilerman in Tauranga Hospital. He made a number of these wheels in his spare time, around 1980. They are quite heavy and some at least are made of oak. They have no identifying markings.
The Pixie was a little folding wheel with a solid drive wheel and a carry strap, made by Sleeping Beauty. It was advertised it in The Web in November 1979 but Alex Baillie says he never produced more than a prototype, so the few surviving examples may date from the early 1980s when the company was owned by Fisher and Paykel Finance.
Unlike other Sleeping Beauty wheels, the Pixie has scotch tension, and the need for adjusting the drive band is avoided by using a stretchy band. The Pixie illustrated here has been decorated by the present owner.
More on Sleeping Beauty wheels
Pollyanna is practically identical but has a true double treadle crank mechanism. The one shown here was purchased at the 1990 Woolcrafts Festival, and was apparently one of about 6 decorated ones produced for that occasion. Neither Polly nor Pollyanna folds.
More on Majacraft wheels
The Poly wheel was designed by Philip Poore for the studio, to spin fancy, unusual and bulky yarns beyond the capability of the ordinary wheel. Its slowest ratio is 3:1, and the bobbins are very large. It is described as a “weavers wheel” in a Pipy Craft advertisement in “Fibre Facts” (1981?).
This one has handwritten on the bottom of the treadle “MC 62 Chisholm”. This means it was made by Ray Chisholm not by Philip Poore himself.
More on Pipy wheels
Noel Price of Greymouth on the West Coast of the South Island made 12 wheels in all. They spin very smoothly and quietly: note in the second picture the little wheel on the flyer that smooths the path of the yarn to the hooks. His final ten wheels (“Mark 3”) have his name either stamped on the wood or engraved in the aluminium.
The Princess “Indian Spinner” appeared in a leaflet by Sleeping Beauty Craft Products, Box 1512, Auckland, New Zealand, and also in the Omana Industries leaflet. It was designed for spinning medium and bulky yarns, and appears to be a bobbin-lead wheel: that is, the drive band drives the bobbin not the flyer.