Spindle (textiles)

The hand spindle ( spindle whorls arch. ) represents the original form of the tool for spinning fibers represent a hand spindle consists of a rod- shaped stem with a whorl (including spindle whorls, Wirtelstein or Wörtel called ) as a flywheel.


Oldest evidence of spindle whorls originate in Europe from the 6th millennium BC from settlements of Sesklo culture in Greece, as the material (often ceramic) outlasted the time. In 2000, years before, to have made ​​in the Levant textiles farmers. Whether these were made ​​from flax or linseed or from animal wool, is unclear due to lack of maintenance. Got linen dipped in any case not until 2000 years later in Egypt. The whorls may consist of different materials ( wood, bone, stone, or clay, and later also glass) be and has a diameter up to 5 cm. Prehistoric whorls are sometimes decorated with symbolic characters and deities were probably offered as votive offerings. Whorls are found in many prehistoric tombs and settlements. The spherical or disc-shaped, conical or biconical centrally perforated whorls seldom served as a flywheel for the hand spindle. A whorl of amber, found in vendelzeitlichen woman grave of Hallveda shows the special importance by the material value.

Whorl as the part is also present in the ring spinning machine, on which the spindle is driven. The shaft ( rod of the hand shaft ) alone is also sometimes referred to as a spindle. The upper end of the shaft may be shaped differently: pointed, fitted with a metal or carved hook, with a notch or groove, or a middle - or spiral- shaped groove.

Operation of the hand spindle

The filament is secured to the upper end of the spindle, in which it secured by a half stroke and - if present - is lodges in the hook, the groove or the groove. Now, the hand spindle, freely suspended at the spun yarn, set in rapid rotation. Now constantly new material is supplied and this pulled in the desired thickness of the thread before it is twisted. The transition between the fed extended ( nearly parallel ) fibers and the onset of rotation into a yarn called fiber triangle. When the hand spindle is nearly touching the ground, the newly formed thread is wound on the shaft and the process begins again. In this case (Fig. a distaff Wockenstab. ) And Kunkel can be attached for better handling of the prepared fibers on a rock.

This process of textile production is spread throughout the world and served for thousands of years for the production of yarns for clothing. It was replaced in the late Middle Ages, from the spinning wheel and at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution by spin machines like the spinning jenny.

Even today serves the hand spindle in many less developed parts of the world as a tool for the production of textiles of everyday use. Also under the slowly growing number of hobby - Spinner hand spindle is used again.

The advantage of the hand spindle relative to the spinning wheel is portability. It can be easily transported and operated during many activities of normal life (eg, herding sheep, while walking, while waiting for the bus or in the doctor's waiting room). Thus, the slower spin speed relative to the stationary spinning wheel into perspective a bit. However, a worker in a modern industrial mill produces several thousand times more yarn than by hand, measured in kg of yarn per work hour.

Various types of hand spindles

We divide this by the shape or the Wirtelsitzes in

  • Bottom whorl (English Bottom or Down whorl ) when the whorl is located below the center of the shaft. In Europe, this species was distributed mainly of spindle.
  • Hochwirtel (English top- whorl ) when the whorl is above the shaft center. These spindle-shaped mandatory requires a hook at the upper end of the shaft. The spun yarn is wound there below the whorl. This type of hand spindle was common among others in Egypt and Asia. This spindle may be driven not only by cranking by hand, but also by the rolling of the spindle shaft on the thigh of the spinner. In this case, much higher speeds can be achieved, whereby productivity can be increased. Thus these types of hand spindles growing in popularity and will enjoy today from the U.S. also restored in growing numbers and with modern manufacturing techniques.
  • Special forms with the whorl exactly in the middle ( Akha spindle ) or two whorls ( Balkan spindle).

In addition to the above free-hanging hand -operated spindles ( spindles = case ), there are also stand spindles that are sometimes called " Supported Spindles ". These are big heavy spindles with a long shaft, which are operated standing on the floor, while the spinner sits cross-legged on the floor or on a chair (such as the Navajo spindle) or rather smaller and lighter spindles in a wooden, ceramic, clam shell or the like be wound standing. With large, heavy stand spindles thick carpet yarns are spun, inter alia by the Navajo Indians. Small, light stand spindles are well suited for very fine and short fibers (such as cotton) to spin into very thin threads that might not carry the weight of the free-hanging hand spindle. In addition, the use of a tray in preventing that the ( clay ) whorl breaks if the thread breaks and the spindle otherwise falls to the ground. Stand spindles usually have a pointed stem end ( followed by Sleeping Beauty could stand ) and a bottom -seated whorl.