July 15, 2009

The Spoils of War

'Hugh Macneil Oge lamented that the invading Scots had carried off numbers of spinning wheels from the people of Ulster during one of their depredatory incursions against the North Irish' - so writes Hugh McCall (1855).

Patricia Baines, Spinning Wheels, Spinners & Spinning (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1977, p. 121)

I had never really thought of spinning wheels as ever being the spoils of war. Gold, yes. Luxury fabric, yes.

This book has quite a bit of information I found novel and interesting.

For example, in the second half of the eighteenth century, a type of spinning wheel was developed that a spinner could take and use while riding in a horse-drawn carriage (p. 158). It is small, so the wheel is either made of metal or weighted with metal to give it enough momentum.

A girdle or belt spinning wheel was also developed. The main part looks like a fishing reel (p. 162-164). The flyer is made of brass, and these wheels were made by clockmakers.

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