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Object Record

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Object ID # 1998.030.010
Object Name Wheel, Spinning
Title Gandhi Charkha Wheel
Lexicon category 4: T&E For Materials
Credit line Dorothy & Harry Kirk Collection of Spinning Wheels & Related Equipment
Date 20th-century
Made India
Place of Origin India
Description Gandhi Charka (Charkha) spinning wheel that collapses into its own carrying case. It is sometimes referred to as a "Book Charkha" or "Briefcase Charkha". The wheel is designed to be very portable, so that a poor person can carry it anywhere. It has a wooden case, which, when opened up, creates the base of the spinning wheel. When closed, it creates a lightweight "suitcase"-style item that is easy to carry by its handle. "Charka" is a word meaning "wheel". A spinning wheel like this was intended for spinning fine fibres such as cotton, angora, or cashmere. Special sausage-shaped rolls of prepared fibre, called punis, were used with a wheel of this type. There is a round paper label affixed inside with a printed dark-blue on white head and shoulders portrait of Gandhi on it. He is wearing spectacles. His image is surrounded by a ring of text (not translated yet). It is a flyerless wheel. It is hand-turned. There are two wooden discs. The larger one has a turning handle on it. The discs are horizontal. Having a "multiplier wheel" increases its mechanical advantage. The spindle is not in its work position when the box is closed. It has to be set up so that it protrudes over the edge of the box. The metal spindles (there are two with this wheel) can be stored inside the sliding lid compartment when not needed. Sometimes the spinner would put a cloth on the ground underneath the spindle area (to prevent the yarn/punis from getting dirty). The brass tag No. 24 affixed was applied by the Kirks as their inventory number.
Makers mark Printed round paper label has uninterpreted wording around an image of Gandhi.
Provenance This Gandhi charka wheel originated from India. Provenance unknown.

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 / Metal / Cotton Fibre / Paper / Ink
Dimensions H-30 L-41 D-9.5 cm
Found Owen Sound, Grey County
People Kirk, Dorothy