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Women used this foot, or flax, wheel to spin the pale, hair-like fibers of the flax plant into linen thread. Turning flax into linen thread was difficult and most Americans preferred the easier process of spinning sheep's wool into yarn. Colonists were given money as encouragement to grow and produce flax but Ireland emerged as the British Empire's main producer. What linen Americans did produce was usually in small amounts for home use. Just before the Revolutionary War colonists protested English rule by refusing to buy goods from the British Empire. People throughout the colonies wore homespun and women gathered for "spinning bees," determined, as one young woman from New York declared, to form "a fighting armey of amazones...armed with spinning wheels."

 

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Flax Wheel

creator   Unidentified
date   c. 1775
location   Eastern United States
length   32.25"
height   32.5"
width   21.5"
diameter   21.75"
process/materials   wood
item type   Tools/Textile working Tools & Equipment
accession #   #1914.07.28


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See Also...

Niddy-Noddy

Spinning Jenny

Tape loom


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