The spinning wheel was an advancement on the concept of the spindle, invented somewhere in China or India between 500 and 1000 AD ; like the spindle, it worked by spinning the material - twisting the fibers into a long continuous strand. Rather than relying on finger-twisting or gravity, however, the spinning wheel was turned by hand or by a treadle (a foot pedal) (or other motivation, such as water or electric power) to turn a large wheel, which, by the use of a drive band, turned a smaller wheel.
The motion of the wheel twisted the thread, which was then wound on a post called (after its predecessor) the spindle.
Numerous types of spinning wheels have existed, including the great wheel or wool wheel for rapid long-draw spinning of woolen-spun yarns; the flax wheel, with its bobbin and flyer assembly, for spinning linen and worsted-spun yarns; and the charka, a small, portable, hand-cranked wheel for spinning cotton and other fine, short-staple fibers.
In the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin, a young woman is expected to use a spinning wheel to spin straw into gold.
Sleeping Beauty: The evil fairy is very angry about
having been forgotten, and as her gift, enchants the infant princess so that
she will one day prick her finger on a spindle of a spinning wheel and die.
The seventh fairy, who hasn't yet given her gift, attempts to reverse the
evil fairy's curse. However, she can only do so partially. Instead of dying,
the Princess will fall into a deep sleep for 100 years and be awakened by a
kiss from a king's son. This is her gift of protection. The King orders that
every spindle and spinning wheel in the kingdom to be destroyed, to try to
save his daughter from the terrible curse. Fifteen or sixteen years pass and
one day, when the king and queen are away, the Princess wanders through the
palace rooms and comes upon an old woman, spinning with her spindle. The
princess, who has never seen anyone spin before, asks the old woman if she
can try the spinning wheel. The curse is fulfilled as the princess pricks
her finger on the spindle and instantly falls into a deep sleep.
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