This will probably be a long story, but it just shows how we were meant to be. Otherwise just skip down to the pictures.
Every year my mom, sister and I go to Wisconsin to visit my mom's side of the family. It's a bit boring up there if you're not on a lake, which leads to us going unusual places for the sake of doing something. There's an old farmhouse / antique store behind my grandparents' house, which we used to go to, but it was never worth it. The only item ever purchased was soap, so we haven't been in 5 years or so. (Though the ruins of the stone barn and silo are pretty spiffy.) This year, my mom wanted to go just to see if it had changed, and I immediately thought, "spinning wheel!" Of course I didn't say anything, because that would ruin my chances. A quick trot across the road (including being whistled at by a truck driver), and the same old same old. Piles of ugly wool cloth and the fat orange tabby. But there, in the second room, sat a glorious spinning wheel, backlit by the afternoon sun! Like she was waiting for me. I ran over to her and gave my mom my best puppy face. She gave me her "you really should have been born in the olden days" look. I explained to her that she NEEDED to come home with me, otherwise someone would buy her for decoration, and she would sit unused and sad forever. (I actually got to write a short story about a very sad and angry wheel who never got used for one of my upper division classes. Hurrah college!) A quick inspection revealed all the parts were there and original (and stuck together with grime and bits of wool), minus the drive band and possibly two bobbins. But it still had two, so that was mighty fine with me. I was then dragged off to look at the rest of the house. After being convinced that I couldn't run back across one of the busiest roads in the county with it, we agreed to leave it and come back in a few days after hitting up other antique shops.
I did find 2 other wheels, but both weren't nearly as pretty or in as good shape. My grandpa (an amazing woodworker) said he would make me a wheel, but after researching that route, it proved to be the most expensive option. He is making me some more bobbins though!
Tuesday, the magic day arrived. We took the car this time, and after a very short discussion and much caressing of the wheel, she was in the car for a mere $225. Quite a bargain, I think. (Never mind how much it cost to ship her home to Dallas...)
On to the pictures!
A very pleased me treadling away. Never mind that I didn't have anything to spin. She is a bit wobbly with the wheel and flyer off, but very sturdy together. She also runs completely silent, and I didn't have any problems with keeping the wheel going in the right direction. She's very broken in. I've named her Estelle, because I got a very very strong vibe of that name when I first saw her at the shop. The owner told us the ghost of the "spinster" (as in never married) daughter of the original German couple who built the farm tends to hang out downstairs, as she died in the parlor. So maybe she knows something and told me Estelle.
side. The horizontal bar in the middle is a metal rod that goes through one of the wheel supports and into the bottom of the maiden. It hold the extra bobbins, which aren't shown.
small parts: flyer, pulley (both are threaded), bobbin, pins that hold the wheel on.
Underside, showing the cap on the end of the screw for the maiden. The whole maiden/tension system works via a large wooden screw. Also, the most accurate shot of the blue color.
Tiny woodburned design on the tension nob, and best shot of the red-orange color.
The footman. I love it especially. It was starting to split at the top, so someone cut a little groove around it and fit in some wire. The very tidy wrapping between the keyhole like bit and and stick bit is also wire.
The only sad parts are I can't have her until xmas (nooo!) and I know nothing about her history. Which is where I'm hoping you lovely spinners will come in.
Here's what else I know:
--most likely made out of maple
--originally died a red-orange, then a navy blue. It's not anything like today's paint.
--I bought her in Waukesha, WI, but before me she was bought at auction.
--Orifice is about the size of a pencil.
--Whoever had her first treadled with her left foot.
I'd just like to know what country or area she was made in, and about how old she is. At auction she was reported to be at least 200.