Resources - links, books, places to visit


Websites about the wheels of other countries -
Australian wheels:
UK (20thC) wheels: (under construction)

The Spinning Wheel Sleuth is a quarterly magazine published in the US which has scholarly but readable articles about early spinning wheels, mainly North American and European. Their website includes sample articles and colour photographs, as well as subscription details.

My Actrix User Page includes Ashford and Majacraft, whose current models I have not felt it necessary to include, each have their own website with more or less detail about their companies and particulars of the wheels they are now producing. Their websites are:

Internet auction sites can also have snippets of information: a search for "spinning wheel" on New Zealand site Trademe may turn up interesting listings. If you don't live in NZ or Australia, note that you cannot buy or sell on Trademe.
The various Ebay sites (US, UK and Australia) are sometimes worth a look too.


Several books have been very helpful to me in my efforts to learn about spinning wheels:

Patricia Baines Spinning Wheels, Spinners and Spinning (B.T. Batsford Ltd, London 1977) is a particularly useful survey of the different types of wheel, with clear illustrated explanations of their history and how they work.

David Bryant Wheels and Looms, Making equipment for spinning and weaving (BT Batsford Ltd,London 1987) contains expert accounts of how several traditional types of spinning wheel are made, complete with plans and instructions.

Judith Buxton Selected Canadian Spinning Wheels in Perspective, An Analytical Approach (Canadian Museum of Civilisation 1992; first published by National Museums of Canada 1980) is much more generally useful than the title implies. The accounts of exactly how different spinning devices work are technical but worth the effort to understand.

Eric Corran Understandingthe Spinning Wheel (Melbourne 1997) is an interesting study of spinning wheels from the point of view of a successful maker.

Joan Whittaker Cummer A Book of Spinning Wheels (Peter E. Randall, New Hampshire USA 1994) has illustrations and descriptions of an astonishing variety of wheels from Europe and North America.

Heather Nicholson The Loving Stitch, A History of Knitting and Spinning in New Zealand (Auckland University Press, New Zealand 1998) has more about knitting than spinning but sheds useful light on the history of spinning in New Zealand.

David A. Pennington and Michael B. Taylor Spinning Wheels and Accessories (Schiffer Publishing Ltd, Pennsylvania USA 2004) is more in the nature of a catalogue for collectors of North American wheels, but there is a lot of interesting history and the colour illustrations are wonderful.


The Wool Shed The Wool Shed Museum of Sheep and Shearing in Masterton has a display about the history of spinning (pictured at right) as well as a small collection of mostly WW2 wheels.

The Agrodome Woollen Mill near Rotorua has a growing collection of New Zealand spinning wheels on display. Many of the major makers are represented in the range, which now numbers about 25. Sadly, I have heard that the spinning wheels may no longer be on view at the Agrodome (August 2015).
Open 7 days a week.
Western Road, Ngongotaha, Rotorua, New Zealand
Tel (64-7) 357 1050 ext 722, fax (64-7) 357 5307

Ashfords about an hour south of Christchurch have a small museum with spinning wheels from around the world, including a few New Zealand wheels. NOTE: The collection is not on display at present (February 2013).
Open 7 days a week.
West St (State Highway One), Ashburton, New Zealand
Tel (64-3) 308 9087, fax (64-3) 308 8664