Spinning wheels made in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales during the 20th century



The English wheel builder Mr Leadbetter made at least two designs of spinning wheel and worked in Walnut and Ash woods. One is ihe style of a Canadian Production wheel (or CPW for short) which is the first wheel pictured below and the design we have discovered is a great wheel, photos of this are further down the page. The design started as a copy of a Canadian Production Wheel (possibly by Guy Ouellet who used the same tension system and treadle shape, some Ouellet wheels spin well, others appear to have been made for decorative purpose) but it is reported that the original wheel he was copying did not work well (another indication it might have been a Ouellet) and Mr Leadbetter improved the design.

They have a large 27 3/8" (96cm) diameter drive wheel and unusual system for tensioning the drive band - the mother of all is held in place by a metal hoop, it can be rocked towards or away from the drive wheel, and the metal hoop is tightened to hold the mother of all steady by doing up a wingnut under the table.

Another unusual feature is having bearings for the bobbin fixed to the flyer spindle, the bearings are plastic and the core of the bobbin which runs on them is aluminium. There are two flyer whorls, very similar in size, giving a ratio for flyer to drive wheel of around 14:1. Wheels were sold via a shop (or couple of shops?). Writing under the table of my wheel says "GJL 7 80 Elland Wharfe 0043a", the number possibly indicating that it was made in July 1980.

Leadbetter spinning wheel

Leadbetter drive wheel 1 Leadbetter drive wheel 2

Leadbetter drive wheel 3 Leadbetter flyer

Leadbetter flyer whorl Leadbetter tension 1

Leadbetter tension 2 Leadbetter wheel supports

The great wheel is made in ash and has a 40" drive wheel. The wheel rim is fastened in two places with attractive copper rivets and the spokes are weighted with lead. The owner describes it as very well balanced and said at time of purchase "Even with my restricted experience with wheels... I could tell she was well made even before I found out the makers name." This great wheel is numbered 005, indicating that he may have made other wheels to the same design.





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