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Object Record

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Object ID # 1998.030.007
Object Name Wheel, Spinning
Title Irish Castle Wheel
Lexicon category 4: T&E For Materials
Credit line Dorothy & Harry Kirk Collection of Spinning Wheels & Related Equipment
Date 1870s?
Made Unknown
Place of Origin Ireland, United Kingdom?
Description Type: Double belt flyer drive
Style: Vertical frame "Castle"
Irish Castle wooden spinning wheel, late 19th-c. Castle style wheels have the wheel mounted above the bobbin and flyer. A sturdy vertical design for flax and space accommodation. This wheel was formerly No. 13 of the Kirk inventory. There is a small brass tag with this number attached to the treadle bar. It has a dark brown finish. The wood type is unknown. Tensioning wood screw on the lower horizontal secrures the mother of all post to adjust belt tension. The spinner can change the ratio of the wheel. Ratio: 12.5: 1. It has turned legs and stretchers. The wheel has 12 turned spokes. It has two drive cords. The footman is a long piece of thick wire, which connects the treadle to the wheel axle via a short iron crank. Wide flyer typical of flax wheels. No maker's name seen.
Makers mark None seen
Provenance Dorothy W. Kirk obtained this Irish Castle spinning wheel at an antique shop in Guelph, Ontario. She wrote on her inventory card that it had been brought over from Ireland, and had belonged to a Mrs. Donellen, who lived in Guelph. At some point, Mrs. Donellen moved to England, taking the wheel with her. She later returned to Canada with it. When she no longer wanted it, she put it up for sale in an antique shop in Guelph. The card does not record which year Dorothy Kirk obtained it.

Mrs. Kirk was very proud of it, as it is a rare item to find in Ontario. She estimated that it may be c. 1870. She kept it at her house at RR#2, Owen Sound, Grey County.

Collected by Dorothy and Harry Kirk, of Owen Sound, Grey County, who lived in Grey County and Toronto during their lifetimes, and who had family roots in Grey County. They purchased and restored many old and contemporary spinning wheels and related equipment, often purchasing them from Ontario antique stores. Mrs. Kirk was a master spinner / weaver.
Collection Dorothy & Harry Kirk Collection
Material Wood/Finish/Metal
Dimensions H-111.5 W-57.5 D-40 cm
Found Owen Sound, Grey County
People Kirk, Dorothy
Subjects Linen industry
Spinning apparatus
Function A spinning wheel intended for domestic use. The triangular configuration made them easier to store in the corners of small Irish cottages. They were also sometimes brought outside so that the spinner could have more light to work with. The spinner would sit in front of the orifice, and would treadle the wheel with her right foot. The wheel was primarily intended for flax spinning. Flax yarn was needed to make linen, a very important cottage industry in Ireland. Irish Castle wheels also could be used for spinning wool.