Hello fellow fiber friends! I am a historian in the Boston area who has struck some gold!
The Fairbanks House is the oldest standing wood frame house in the Americas and it’s a really beautiful place.
It was also seemingly a hub for textile production. Everything from shearing to weaving is sitting in the dark and I have been asked by my friend the curator to help figure out as much as possible.
I will be going there tomorrow to get my hands and eyes on these tools and I’ll have more details and pictures. But seeing what we’re looking at in this house from the early 1600’s needs some guidance! Any comments or perspectives would be most welcome!
I know what the stuff is but not the terminology. The top pic is for winding yarn. The wheels are for spinning yarn or thread. The loom is nice. There is a more complex one in my basement. If you get some more pics of the loom and how it functions, I can probably figure out exactly what kind it is.
Is there some deep philosophical explanation for why phenol is the most important ingredient in both picric acid and in sulfonamide? Is it that with great ingredients comes great responsibility?
(I'm going to write this as if the reader has never seen a spinning wheel before because it's possible one or two of our readers haven't had that pleasure. Feel free to ask questions if you want to know anything more specific)
The Spinning Wheel Sleuth is a great place to start researching the history of the specific pieces. They have done a lot of investigation into specific makers of spinning and weaving tools.
Most of these look mid to late 1800s (on further consideration, possibly earlier - it's hard to tell from photos, so don't quote me on the dates), Eastern North American made - there's a strong Amish feel to the design.
This contains part of a great wheel (also known as a walking wheel), a click reel (at the back), a yarn blocker (at the front) and a swift (in the middle).
Click reel - for measuring spun yarn.
Yarn blocker - for setting the twist - often used if spinning singles (unplyed) yarn.
Swift - to hold the yarn while it is wound into balls or onto bobbins.
The two larger wheels are Great Wheels or Walking Wheels (the name varies from place to place, so I'll just call them Great Wheels). The smaller one may be a bobbin winder for the weaver or a hand-powered sit-down spindle wheel. It's difficult to know which without the head. The loom is LOVELY! However it is missing quite a bit - most of them will look like sticks, maybe with holes in the end. This will make up the 'frames' or 'shafts' for weaving. Also, it needs some treadles. But well worth fixing up.
Spinning wheel, missing the flyer and bobbin, but that will be around somewhere. It's u-shaped. I have one very like this and it's Pennsylvania Dutch made and probably designed for flax. Lovely production wheel.
It looks like another click reel.
Another great wheel
I'm not great on specific history of the pieces, but I often work with textile tools about this age and can offer advice on how to repair them and get them working again.