FINALLY, it is home. My new wheel.
It is an old Orkney wheel, and I mean old, not 1970s. It is impossible to date these things for definite, but it is probably pre WW1. It is a functional wheel – beautifully proportioned – made to be used not looked at.
It has had quite a bit of real wear, but it has been well cared for. At some point more recently someone who didn’t know what they were doing has made new pegs for the uprights – and put the whole uprights and flier assembly on the table the wrong way round! You can see that the wheel rim and the whorls don’t line up. They will then have realised it didn’t work, and put it away in an attic.
Longer ago, the front maiden has been replaced – you can see that it is longer than the original one at the back, and is turned slightly differently.
The screw on the other maiden, the bobbin and the wheel all move well. This wheel has been looked after!
I know it was owned by a family called Corrigal, and went south with the aunt of the seller. The seller thought it was the aunt’s grandmother’s wheel, which would fit my estimate of its age…
Granville Swanney, Orkney’s last active wheel maker (who happens to live a couple of hundred yards from me), is going to do the restoration work for me. The wheel itself is in good nick, and all the parts move freely – the whorl has a couple of nibbles out, but comes off its screw easily, and the bobbin fits perfectly.
Once it is in working order, it will sit in the corner of the Flotta heritage centre when it opens next year, and I (or others) will be using it for demos.