String Notes Rotating Header Image

String Puzzle

Long-time followers of Stringpage will remember the occasional puzzles. I get a reasonable amount of email from folks asking what something is, or how to replicate it. These are fun! Sometimes I can answer, but sometimes I have no idea. When I don’t know, I call on the Internet hive-mind, source of all knowledge.

Here’s a new puzzle. I’m stumped.

The querent writes:

I saw it at an antiques fair, labeled as a table top spinning wheel. It clamps to the table and has a hand crank, but the bobbin spins off center. It’s movement reminded me very much of the Lacis Yarn Ball Winder, but the bobbin was hour glass shaped instead of straight. Any ideas? I also don’t know if this was part of the product design, or just because it’s old, but the bobbin’s teeth didn’t always catch on the drive.

Yes, they let me crank it, and the bobbin spun off kilter, and it was the only one they had. The top drum turned, being driven by the rope, but it only had a small slit at one end where the bobbin’s teeth fit. This slit didn’t go all around the drum nor did it gear the bobbin to spin differently. I keep on wanting to say it’s a ball winder, if only there was a way to get the ball off of the bobbin. And then I thought it might be used for plying, but then you would still have to put twist into it :/ I also did a quick internet search and couldn’t find anything that resembles it.

She took several photos of the gizmo in question (click for big):

Unknown textile gizmo

Unknown textile gizmo

Unknown textile gizmo

Unknown textile gizmo

6 Comments on “String Puzzle”

  1. #1 Joanna
    on Oct 6th, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Could it not just be a bobbin winder? My bobbin winder for weaving shuttles works on a similar principal, although the shape of the bobbin is different. This one looks more like the ones used for a sectional warp.

  2. #2 Sile (pronounced Sheelah)
    on Oct 6th, 2009 at 11:30 am

    It looks like a ball winder to me. Slip a toilet paper tube over the bobbin and wind the thread onto that perhaps.

  3. #3 ariandalen
    on Oct 6th, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    I’m with Joanna. It looks like a bobbin winder to me, and one used for warping a loom rather than a shuttle.

  4. #4 Phiala
    on Oct 6th, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Yeah, some kind of winder. But it has some things that struck us as odd, and I’m looking for a more definite answer if possible.

  5. #5 alwen
    on Oct 6th, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Too bad it didn’t have a patent notice on it, then we could just go look it up!

  6. #6 Emelyne
    on Oct 16th, 2009 at 9:35 am

    I’m wondering if it was used in a textile mill to guide strings around a corner of a shop floor. Maybe?