A Stranger in Paradis …

June 12, 2011

Brought home this wheel yesterday:

We changed our plans from going to the annual Spin-In at the Mannings in Pennsylvania and instead went to St. Michael’s, Maryland, for this yellow beauty. We have an attraction for St. Mike’s to begin with, having been married on the lawn of the Talbot County Courthouse in near-by Easton. We are always looking for an excuse to go down there, so when this wheel showed up in St. Michael’s, it seemed an obvious choice.

The seller told us she had acquired the wheel, ironically in New Jersey, some 28 years ago but had never spun on it. She did not realize the MOA was installed backwards, so anyone trying to spin on it would have had some trouble! The seller also told us that the dealers who had the wheel said they had gotten it from an estate sale in West Virginia. Beyond that, she did not know anything about the wheel, except that it might be Canadian. In that, she was correct!

With her MOA put back into proper position, you can see her tilt tensionining:

She has one carved pin holding in her wheel axle, and what a big pin!

Her wheel crank is straight. I had never seen this shape before two weeks ago, and now here is another one!

She has that lovely swooping treadle. The treadle needs to be renailed to the front crosspiece, but this is an easy fix. I like the amount of wear on the treadle — someone obviously did alot of spinning with this wheel.

But, perhaps best of all, she has a maker’s mark:

I did not see this until this morning when we unloaded her from the car. She is stamped “Paradis” on the front of her bench, next to the tensioning device. Now, to figure out if that is Aram Paradis, Lucien Paradis, or another member of the family.


Two Wheels are Better Than One!

June 6, 2011


This is a completely unexpected topic! A new wheel arrived today from Germany, and she has a feature I’ve never seen on the wheel. Not even on this one, because it was not obvious in her photographs.

She is a lovely little upright wheel with her distaff:

Her flyer is in good shape. No hooks, but one of those primitive precursors to a Woolee Winder — a piece of wire twisted into an eye hook that can be removed to the next hole:

The flyer has a clever, neatly mended patch on either side.

She is not a terribly fancy wheel, but does have a bit of carving on her tensioning knob:

She has seem some use, if her treadle is any indication. It is split clean in two and mended with a slat:


Her footman has a bit of carving and alot of axle grease. My word! Her crank is just dripping with grease:

Yes, her axle is just dripping in black grease on both ends. Oh, wait, she’s in backwards. Her crank is sticking out the front. But…wait, if her crank is stick out the front, what is her footman attached to:

Well, I’ll be doggoned … this one has a reversible double wheel:

If anyone out there is familiar with this set-up, please post a comment and let me know!


Little Wheel, Big Wheel

June 1, 2011

First, we start with the little wheel. I have had the little wheel for several years. She was tucked away in the basement workshop, largely forgotten as I pursued other interests and other wheels. But one day I renewed my interest in the little wheel.

First of all, the little wheel was once painted yellow. That is apparently from her many remaining yellow spots:

One of her uprights:

The base of the other upright:

And especially one back leg, which did not seem particularly yellow close up, but obviously was when viewed from a short distance away:

But the thing that really renewed my interest in the little wheel was not her former finish, it was acquiring a big wheel, a big wheel close enough in design to be her mother:

The bigger wheel is a double-treadle Canadian Production Wheel, believed to be by the maker, Ouellet.

The wheels share the same maidens. Some wheel mavens call these “Jetson” maidens, although personally I think they look like pagodas. The bigger wheel has one extra pagoda level:

The carvings on the mothers-of-all match. The tilt tensioning is almost identical. Her uprights are similarly carved:

The legs of the smaller wheel are a bit more fancy:

And their spokes:

The benches are similarly shaped, with a tapered front:

Because the smaller wheel has only a 25″ drive wheel, the debate rages as to whether or not she is considered a Canadian Production Wheel or not. She definitely is Canadian and was purchased in Quebec, she shares the same attributes as the larger wheel, and possible shares the same maker. At least, she shares the same patterns on her turnings.

The yellow ochre milk paint is on order and in the coming weeks, she will again return to her earlier glory. Her larger counterpart may get a new coat, as well!