I got some interesting e-mails from Robert (Doc) Petrere about a mechanism similar to the Bangladesh spinning devices that were used to carve jade. Does anyone know more about the history of this technique to spin shafts? Exerpts follow:

"I thought you might be interested to know that the Japanese once used a similar arrangement to spin their Jade turning lathes. So sorry, I do not know the names for the equipment. The set-up was larger, and the cords you have going to the hands, go to foot pedals on on their lathe (they used thin leather bands to the spindles).The fly-wheel was massive and, so I was told, often made of Jade. The one I saw was cast iron and it looked something like an old train wheel. Using pedal power left their hands free to use all of the various tools they had."

"When I lived in British Columbia we shipped Nephrite Jade to them in one and two ton blocks. Contemporary Japanese jade processing uses electric power, I am sure, but a few hobbyists may still use the old tools that I was shown back in the nineteen seventies. It was a major industry then; we shipped trainloads of the stuff to Vancouver! There, it was loaded on ships for Japan and Taiwan."



As I briefly mentioned in the spinner construction page, making contact with a local spinner will be worth the search. As a rule, spinners and weavers are extremely interesting people who are dedicated to seeing the craft passed on to future generations. Ask around, and you'll be surprised to learn there is someone carrying on the tradition near you.

There are also some interesting web sites:

*General history and variations of spinning wheels

*Shows a sketch of the first record of a flyer mechanism for a spinning wheel, by none other than Leonardo da Vinci!

*Lots of links. The British seem to be particularly active in hand-spinning and weaving

You can do your own search on the using search words and phases like spinning wheel, flyer, hand spun wool, hand weaving, loom, hand loom



To see a cool slide show about village technology in Bangladesh click here or on the picture.

Back to the Bangladesh twine spinner introduction page.

Back to the science toymaker home page.

I'd like to know how this project goes for you. I'm happy to answer questions about it. Feedback from you is an important way for me to know what works and what needs clarification.
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