Lectures

Florence Feldman-Wood, editor and publisher of THE SPINNING WHEEL SLEUTH, has been a spinner and weaver for more than 30 years. For many years she wrote and lectured about silk and cashmere. In 1990 she discovered 19th-century patented spinning wheels. Her articles about them appeared in SPIN-OFF, The Magazine for Handspinners.

Florence had the unique opportunity to study, in depth, the spinning wheels at the American Textile History Museum, in Lowell, MA, which has the largest collection of spinning wheels in the United States. She offers the following lectures about spinning wheels. Contact her for information on fees and scheduling. ffw@spwhsl.com

Florence Feldman-Wood's article "Eye on Antiques: Spinning Wheels" appeared in the June 2009 edition of Early American Life magazine.

Clue Ball Clues to Researching Textile Tools

The word clue (or clew) originally meant a ball of thread or yarn before it took on its modern meaning of an element that guides or directs the solution to a mystery. This seminar will give you some of the basic clues for studying a mysterious spinning wheel or loom. We will cover how to find similar tools for comparison. If you know the maker's name and town, we will show how to locate census data, wills, probate records, and local histories. If your object was patented, we will discuss how to search for patent and patent-related information. A bibliography and resource list will be provided.

Time: 2 hours
Space requirements: classroom or lecture hall

Spinning Wheel Anatomy and Physiology of Spinning Wheels

In the one thousand years since its invention, the spinning wheel has evolved into an almost infinite number of variations. To learn the anatomy of wheels, we will begin by dissecting a standard horizontal, bobbin/ffyer wheel. We will study the basic components to see how they are combined to form systems. Then to understand the physiology, we will analyze how these systems work together to create a machine that twists fibers into yarns. A survey of the general categories of wheels will show some of the variations that have developed in different time periods and geographical areas.

Time: 1 to 1.5 hours
Space requirements: classroom or lecture hall
Equipment requirements: 2 slide projectors, 2 screens, 1 laser pointer

Chair Wheel Yankee Ingenuity - Two-Handed Spinning Wheels and More

Around 1800 spinning wheel makers in New York and Connecticut developed novel spinning wheel designs in hopes of increasing a handspinner's productivity. These included double-flyer spinning wheels, chair-frame wheels with two treadles and two wheels, and the 'accelerating wheel head' for great wheels. Learn to identify the different styles of these unusual wheels. Find out what is known about the men who built them, the Sanfords of Newtown, CT, Solomon Plant, Joel Farnham, and Joshua Goldsmith, as well as Amos Miner inventor of the "Miner's accelerating wheel head." Help locate more of these wheels.

Time: 1 to 1.5 hours
Space requirements: classroom or lecture hall
Equipment requirements: digital projector, screen, table for display

Pendulum Wheel In Search of Moving-Spindle Spinning Wheels<

Join the Quest! Become a Spinning Wheel Sleuth! Help us find more moving-spindle spinning wheels! Learn to identify pendulum wheels, lever-action wheels, and track wheels. These are just a few variations of the moving-spindle wheels inventors devised during the mid-19th century. Their aim was to make handspinning more efficient and easier for the handspinner. Diagrams will illustrate how these complex wheels functioned. Are there some strange wooden objects lurking in the store room of your local historical society, or in an attic? This slide-lecture will give you the clues to solve the mystery of these pieces. You, in turn, can help us locate, and trace the spread of these wheels.

Time: 1 to 1.5 hours
Space requirements: classroom or lecture hall
Equipment requirements: digital projector, screen, lecturer's display easel, table for display