The Mennonite Track Wheel

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barbara m wrote
on Apr 3, 2009 2:55 PM

Hello, I'm Barbara and one of the volunteers who translate Spin-Off into German. This time, one of my translations for the Spring 2009 issue was the article on the "Iowa Mennonite Track Wheel".Each translation has its special challenge -- this one in particular with all the technical details of how the mechanics of this  wheel works.

But when I read about how to spin with this wheel, I had to think of something. I wonder: This 'track wheel' may look to someone inexperienced like a spinning mule (Wikipedia article, which was the successor of the famous Spinning Jenny that started the industrial revolution in England in the late 1700s. And conspicuously, the Mennonite Track Wheel was even called 'Travelling Jenny'. I wonder if one of the technophobic Mennonites took this principle of using wheels and pulleys to speed the drafting process from this early spinning machine and re-applied it back to a manual spinning wheel. But one would have to see both at work to make a judgement about how much the one has inherited from the other.

Greetings to everyone!

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flyby wrote
on Aug 6, 2009 7:26 PM

What a great job you have.  It must be marvelous to do translating and then to translate  such great material as is found in Spin-Off.

While living in  Florida I was doing a spinning demonstration in a "window"  the owners of the store told me about a "strange wheel"

they had picked up in their travels but had no idea how to work it.


They brought it in, with difficulty, it was a very bulky "wheel".  I had never seen anything like this wheel, if it was a wheel but it was decided it

had to be a spinning wheel because of all the parts, etc.  How to work, we had no idea.  After a few tries at this and that

I finally managed to get it spinning, but still had no idea what it was.


And as happens life went on and I completely forgot about it. 


Then  there it was again, that  strange contraption, in an article in Spin-Off  and that strange wheel had a name. 

I still have to write Spin-Off about it but coming across this blog jogged my memory not only about

the wheel but the hours I put in until I was able to spin, barely, on that strange wheel.

Ginger Trench, Mifflinburg PA

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