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




The English wheel builder Mr Leadbetter made wheels to the same design in Walnut and Ash woods. 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



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