Wing Wheels

Double table wheel by Wing Sidney Cecil Wing was born in 1904 and lived to the age of 97. A maintenance engineer by trade, he lived in Redcliffs, Christchurch.

He saw a horizontal spinning wheel his daughter had bought in 1967 from Mr Rudhall, and as he was retired he started to make spinning wheels the following year. With his good technical and woodworking skills, he also made fine furniture pieces.

After a while he learned to spin, and used his fine handspun to knit socks on four needles.

He developed an upright model for easy transport as well as the double table (norwegian-style) wheel. He purchased mahogany and native beech timber from a sawmill, though he did make a few kauri wheels from recycled timber. His daughter estimates that he made about 2,500 wheels, not stopping till his eyesight began to fail when he was about 80. His wheels were sold privately rather than through retail outlets and many went overseas, to Tasmania, North America and the UK.

Detail of Rudhall and Wing wheels We have had some confusion between Mr Wing's double table wheels and those made by Rudhall. Mr Wing's daughter is clear that her father did not use copper binding at the ends of the treadle bar and the end of the horizontals from the upper table where they join the wheel support posts (see closeups at left, the probable Rudhall above and the Wing below). The wheels that have this reinforcing binding have now been reclassified as Rudhall.Hub of Rudhall wheel

Norwegian-style Wing (with two known exceptions) Rudhall and Colthart wheels characteristically have the axle passing through a square brass mounting set in wood, behind rather than through the supporting posts. One Wing wheel (in the collection of the Agrodome in Rotorua) has its bearing made of what appears to be India rubber composition. See the closeup at right.

Their upright wheels do not show this feature.

I am grateful to Lyndsay Fenwick for compiling this account, with the help of Mr Wing's daughter.