Thursday, April 16, 2009

Winding up Part II

Stuttgart. Cod. Poet. 2° 2: Schachzabelbuch, 1467, fol. 196 v.

So, I found this image lingering on my computer. I made a drawing of it a couple of years ago for a friend who was writing about cloth production and needed an illustration to accompany the text. Looking at it again, I found this interesting detail in the forgeground of the scene. See the little box? It has two sticks pointing upwards with a horizontal bar in between. On the bar you can see a round disc or wheel, and on the left of the wheel a bow shaped thing. On the other side of the weel there appears to be a stick with yarn wound around it. In the box are more reels with yarn.

ca. 1509, penelope with the suitors, PINTORICCHIO, national gallery of london, Fresco on canvas, 125.5 x 152 cm
Laura made me aware of the existance of another work of art showing a very similar tool. Here the bow is missing, and the wheel isn't massive but it has four spikes connecting it to the shaft.

The bow shaped thing right a way reminded me of a bow lathe. Bow lathes were used in Medieval (and earlier) times for small turning projects, like bone beads etc. By moving the bow up and down you can turn round the object you are working on. However, with this mechanism your object also always turns in two directions: it will always turn back at you.
When winding up yarns you cannot have a mechanism that turns in two directions, because then the yarn will never be wound on the reel.

So someone with more insight in things like this could throw in some ideas?


Mikkel Frederiksen said...

When I looked at it i noticed that the string of the "bow" wasn't wound around the central shaft of the mechanism.

Maybe the string of the bow could be treated with a light adhesive (like resin on the strings of violin-bows) that makes it possible to grip the central shaft and turn it around?

The disc provides momentum to keep the shaft turning when you move the bow.
Not unlike a pump-drill:

Well thats my far-out theory anyway :-)

Isis said...

yes, the theory on the disc for turning strength is a god one. i already had some suspicions in that direction :)
of course the bow shaped thing could be simply a handle to turn around the shaft. maybe it isn't even made with a string: it also might be to sticks of wood clamped around the shaft so they form an ellips shaped handle.
that way you have one hand to turn around the shaft and one hand to lead the yarn you are winding onto the reel.
this already makes the proces of winding yarn onto reels a whole lot easier and quicker than when you have to do everything with your own two hands...

i think i want a reconstruction of this thing :D

Gina-B said...

what a wonderful find! I want a reconstruction too - just to see if I can figure it out...

a stitch in time said...

Hmm. I just finished winding thread onto a spool and spent most of the time doing it thinking about how to do this faster.
You write that you made a drawing for a friend - do you remember where the original illustration is from? Maybe it would be good to have a look at the original, since a detail might come out better there...

Isis said...

The manuscript is in Stuttgart. Cod. Poet. 2° 2: Schachzabelbuch, 1467, fol. 196 v.
It would be good to see the original or a better reproduction.

Laura said...

I was very excited to see this! Thank you for sharing! There is something very similar in a painting by Pintoricchio in the National Gallery in London--Penelope with the Suitors:
The woman is definitely winding bobbins for the weaver's shuttle. Hers is operated by hand. Using a bow with a loose string might work very well; there's a diagram in a lace-making book of how to wind bobbins a similar way. The loose string enables you to "reset" so you don't wind in the wrong direction. I'll try to check the citation tonight.

Kalista said...

What Laura said - it's a bobbin winder for a weaver's shuttle.

One of my most favorite aspects of fiber arts is that we still use today the very tools and techniques that people have used through centuries, and most are not greatly modified by technology either.

Michael said...

Watch this Japanese shishu (embroidery) master winding a spool of silk - - his tool is different, and the thread is probably much finer - but the technique is amazing, and I can see how this would translate easily to the pirn-winding you're looking at. The winding starts at about 4:13. His winding-tool has what looks almost like a propeller, instead of a ring, as a weight - but you can see what it's doing.

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