Issue #85 – July 2014


• Henry Miller’s Improvement on Wheel
• Francis Nixon Patented Spinning Wheel
• A Swiss Spinning Wheel Found in California
• Inscribed Hetchels


Highlights From This Issue

In this issue we learn about two newly discovered patented spinning wheels. One is a large lever-action moving-spindle wheel, and the other is a tabletop wheel. In the latter case even the patent was unknown. A small Swiss wheel found in California is presented along with three early hetchels with interesting inscriptions.

Henry Miller’s Improvement on Wheel

When a large lever-action spinning wheel like Henry Miller’s patent [#71,897] was discovered, Julie and Marc Levin decided to employ their researching skills to learn more about it. They present what they learned about the wheel, the patent, the patent model, and the patent holder.

Francis Nixon Patented Spinning Wheel

Even after years of collecting and researching spinning wheels, Michael Taylor was surprised to find a small tabletop wheel with gears that he had never seen before and discover that it was based on a patent that he didn’t know existed. He describes Francis M. Nixon’s patent (#88,065) and how it relates to other earlier patents for tabletop spinning wheels.

A Swiss Spinning Wheel Found in California

While traveling in California, Susan Hector found a small flax wheel that was probably from Switzerland. As luck would have it, she stopped to visit Stephenie Gaustad and Alden Amos who advised her about it. She tells us about the wheel and wonders how it came to be in a shop in California.

Inscribed Hetchels

The tools used to comb out flax fibers are variously known as hackles, hatchels, or hetchels. In this case we are using the term “hetchel.” Three inscribed hetchels are presented, one with initials and a date, two with very different messages.