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Object ID # 1998.030.021
Object Name Wheel, Spinning
Title The Kirk Family Wheel
Lexicon category 4: T&E For Materials
Credit line Dorothy & Harry Kirk Collection of Spinning Wheels & Related Equipment
Date 1850s?
Artist Unknown maker, Scottish?
Made Unknown
Place of Origin Scotland, United Kingdom
Description Kirk Family spinning wheel, 19th-century. In styling, it is a Saxony type of wheel (horizontal wheel). It is made of oak wood. The drive wheel is pieced together with diagonal joins. It has 12 spokes which are tapering, but plain. They become thicker before they join the rim. The wheel has 2 grooves for the drive cord. The uprights (wheel supports) are turned in a thick, hourglass-like shaping. Three incised rings decorate them at the top. Between them, on the table, is an incised ring that is 7.6 cm in diameter, plus two straight scores. One of the wheel supports is supported itself by a smoothy-tapering piece which is affixed to the table by means of a flat-headed, slotted brass screw. There are three turned legs (each has four rounded areas to them). The foot treadle has a sort of A-frame shape, and it is strung on a metal rod. The other end has 3 thorough holes for running a cord footman up to the wheel. There are several nail heads visible on the treadle. The fore-end and back end of the table are simply decorated with a chiselled "piecrust edging." The rest of the table is plain, but has a lovely grain to the wood. The maidens are turned with a spooled shaping. The mother-of-all has three incised rings on each side underneath the maidens. There are two leather bearings. The mother-of-all (maiden assembly) is mounted on a rounded wooden piece. There are some metal pins/wedges with rectangular heads. The flyer has 12 guide hooks to it, and a ridged, brass ferrule. There is a wooden bobbin extant. There is a tension knob at the higher end of the table. The spindle is still intact. There is a curved iron crank which has a cord attached to it. This powers the wheel when someone treadles the spinning wheel. This wheel was #1 in the inventory kept by Dorothy & Harry Kirk. They added a round brass tag with this number to the spinning wheel, so it is not original to the piece, but should be retained.
Mrs. Kirk's inventory card has "#1 Grandmother Kirk's wheel --possibly brought from Ireland in the 1800's". Another card has "Grandmother Kirk wheel Wood--solid oak throughout Wheel diam.--20 1/2 " --2 belt channels Treadle --rocker type --no heel piece Footman--was leather Spindle Whorl --single Good draw in. Pie crust edge on base or table End screw tensioner Nice simple turnings Flyer Hooks on right --bent wire No distaff and no hole for it."
Makers mark None
Provenance An heirloom of the Henry Kirk family of Grey County, formerly from Ireland and Scotland. It is likely a 19th-century spinning wheel. It was brought to Grey County circa 1860 by the Kirk family. A grandson, Harry J. Kirk, married a woman (Dorothy Kirk, neƩ Budge) who eventually became quite interested in antique spinning wheels, so the Kirk Wheel was passed on to them. Mrs. Kirk's husband, Harry Kirk, supported her hobby of collecting spinning wheels and also enjoyed doing restoration work for them. Both Mr. and Mrs. Kirk were born and raised in Grey County [Sarawak Township], but lived in Toronto for some years after their marriage in 1938. In the 1960s, they returned to Owen Sound (RR#2 Owen Sound) to live.

Dorothy Kirk told museums staff that the spinning wheel originated from Scotland, but may have been in Ireland for a while before the Kirk family emigrated to Canada.

Collection Dorothy & Harry Kirk Collection
Material Wood/Finish/Metal/Leather/Cord/Brass
Dimensions H-105.5 cm
Found Owen Sound, Grey County
People Kirk, Dorothy
Kirk, Henry
Kirk, Harry J.
Subjects Ireland
Search Terms Sarawak Township
Function A domestic spinning wheel, intended for spinning wool, as there is no distaff for flax. It was brought to Grey County, Canada West, by a family in the 1850s, and used at their homestead in Sarawak Township.