A Captivating 19th Century Operational Scandinavian Spinning Wheel


Origin: Norwegian
Period: 19th Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1880
Height: 36 inches
Width: 15 inches (at widest point)
The Spindled Wheel 23" Diameter, 36" Wide Overall

Believed to be Norwegian in origin, the single treadle wheel constructed in birch and stained softwoods, having a secondary table sitting on three well turned legs with beautiful finial maidens and distinctive wheel-support posts. The wheel benefits from a rare piston internal crank arrangement mounted inside the back support. The cut out in the table above the treadle is also of idiosyncratic nature.

Overall the quality is very good, though bearing no makers name, the wood turning is very fine and this kind of wheel was very popular in mid 19th century Scandinavia, especially Norway. This style of spinning wheel was often imported into England.

The earliest illustrations known of spinning wheels come from Baghdad in 1237 and China in around 1270 with Europe at c.1280, and there is evidence that spinning wheels had already come into use in both China and the Islamic world during the eleventh century. As far as this example is concerned, Norwegian households simply depended on their spinning wheels. Sheep were grazed in the mountains, and cheese was made from their milk.  Their coats were then combed and saved to spin into thread on the spinning wheel, and then wound onto cards for weaving into fabrics.

Expert wheel restorer and wood turner David Byrant carried out the restoration work with the rebuilding of the bobbin whorl and a new footman, whilst making sure the wheel is now properly aligned and in full working order, treadling nicely. There are no signs of worm and no structural concerns.

This wheel has recently featured in The Spinning Wheel Sleuth, a leading American publication and authority on spinning wheels and represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire a piece of country rustic ware that is fully functional, suiting either a skilled hand-spinner or to simply serve as a decorative delight.