From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
A spinning wheel is a device for making thread or yarn from fibrous material such as wool or cotton.
The spinning wheel was an advancement on the concept of the distaff or drop spindle; like the distaff, it worked by spinning the material - twisting the fibers into a long continuous strand. Rather than relying on hand-spinning or gravity, however, the spinning wheel used a pedal (or other motivation, such as water or electric power) to turn a large wheel, along which the thread was strung. The motion of the wheel twisted the thread, which was then collected on a post called (after its predecessor) the spindle.
Numerous types of spinning wheels have existed, including the great wheel or wool wheel for rapid long-draw spinning of woolen-spun yarns; the flax wheel, with its bobbin and flyer assembly, for spinning linen and worsted-spun yarns; and the charka, a small, portable, hand-cranked wheel for spinning cotton and other fine, short-staple fibers.
Referred to in the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty; the princess (leading lady) pricks her finger on such a spindle and falls asleep before a handsome prince finds and kisses her. A spindle was such a universal object (as a pair of scissors would be now), that the king's ban upon all spindles in the kingdom was immediately recognized as a useless precaution. In the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin, a young woman is expected to use a spinning wheel to spin straw into gold.