Carriage or boudoir wheels are dainty spinning wheels designed for flax spinning. M’lady could spin linen thread in the comfort of her boudoir or, if she chose, show off her domestic skills by removing the upper portion of the wheel from its long legs and taking it with her on a carriage trip. These wheels are typically very elegant and ornate, not intended for production spinning. Here are two examples:
The wheel on the left is missing its little drawer under the bench; the wheel on the richt is missing its distaff. The left-hand wheel stands about 30 inches tall and the drive wheel is 9 inches in diameter. The right-hand wheel is about 28 inches tall and the metal drive wheel is a little over 7 inches in diameter.
The wheel on the left shows signs of having been worked on at some point. The treadle does not have the same wear as the foot bar in front of it. Plus, the treadle is in backwards! The footman should come up the front of the wheel. This allows the axle crank to face the spinner, so the wheel can be hand-cranked when removed from the legs.
The tensioning systems are the same: the tensioning screw moves the mother-of-all along the parallel arms of the framework. The flyers are similar in construction, having separate arms set into a wooden center. The flyer on the left is completely of wood with a metal spine for the bobbin, where the one on the right has a metal orifice and metal spine. Also, note that the flyer on the left uses a moveable metal loop to guide the spinning, while the other flyer has metal hooks.
The drive wheels have some differences. The wooden wheel has a metal inset in the rim to help give the wheel some weight and provide “throw” to help keep the wheel spinning. The metal drive wheel has an additional metal plate added to the side away from the spinner to also provide additional weight.
The smaller wheel shows signs of having possibly been gilded at one time. You can clearly see the gold coloring on the uprights.
Also here on the legs. There is a central turning on the legs that is very rough and I suspect there was metal in these spaces, either pewter or silver, which was dug out long ago.
The little drawer is cleverly decorated with punchwork to form a quilted pattern. The drawer even has a little wooden catch inside, so you can “lock” it when not needed. Note the leg on the right; it does not match the others exactly and is a replacement although I’m unsure how old the repair is.
Overall for their ages, and taking repairs into account, both are lovely wheels and excellent additions to the collection!