front cover of book

by Mary Knox

The book is now available free, as downloadable PDF files, at
The colour photographs on the CD are not included, for copyrght reasons.

Published March 2010 by the author. Wire bound, 140 A4 pages with over 200 black and white illustrations and a CD-ROM containing the photographs in colour. ISBN 978-0-473-16335-8.

The culmination of five years' work, this book is a tribute to the inventiveness and skill of New Zealand spinning wheel makers and the astonishing variety of their wheels.

  • Introduction
  • Saxony style wheels
  • Upright wheels
  • Double table (Norwegian-style) wheels
  • Some interesting makers
  • Discussion and speculation
  • Conclusion

The introduction is an outline of what is known of the history of spinning wheels in New Zealand.

The following three chapters cataloguing wheels of different types will be useful for anyone wishing to identify a particular wheel, as well as offering fascinating detail on their features and construction. These chapters include over 120 different wheels, practically all those on the author's website There are additional photographs and discussion of the wheels. Only those makers who made fewer than a dozen wheels are omitted.

Chapter 5 has closer studies of selected makers and their wheels. There are sections on Ashford; Hal Atkinson; Baynes; John Beauchamp; James Walter Chapman-Taylor; James Colthart, Reg Rudhall and Sydney Wing; Roderick Fraser; Glenfield Industries (H.H. Napier); Grace (Mike Keeves); Patrick Jennings; Bill Madigan; Majacraft; Harold Martin; William McDonald; John L. Moore; Istvan Nagy; E.L. (Les) Peacock; Pipy (Philip Poore); Rappard; George Henry Schofield; Sleeping Beauty; Charles Tyler.

Chapter 6, Discussion and speculation, is an attempt to trace the origins and development of some characteristic features of New Zealand spinning wheels. Metal wheels, U-shaped cranks and even a wooden orifice and a wooden crank resulted from wartime conditions. Other ideas seem to be simply clever adaptations or inventions by creative makers, and some of them (such as easily-sliding flyer hooks and hook-shaped orifices) have been adopted by makers beyond these shores.