Well, as I sell off a wheel or two to make room for a new contemporary wheel, I also added this to the household: a Walking wheel, also known as a Great wheel or a Wool Wheel. I had passively been thinking about owning one for some time, but wasn't actively seeking a Great Wheel.
The other day, I went to Debbie's for a one-on-one spinning lesson to work on some issues I had with particular tasks. We accomplished that goal very quickly, so Debbie let me take a trial spin on a couple of wheels - one she inherited from her MIL and the other she obtained through barter. Her MIL was not a spinner, but she was a weaver. For whatever reason, her MIL collected wheels. I must say, she had good taste.
The wheel I tried of the MIL's was a tiny little castle style wheel. It has a little bobbin, but spins a very, very fine yarn - like even cobweb plied fine. It is amazing. It does also speak for the wonderful combed fiber preparation I was trying on the wheel. That wheel might go in to reproduction by a local woodworker, to be marketed by Debbie.
The other wheel I tried was the walking wheel. After using essentially only double treadle wheels, it odd, but cool, to be standing, turning the wheel with my right hand, and holding the drafting fiber in the left. I can be fairly ambidextrous, so it wasn't too weird, but if one were rigidly a right hander, drafting with the left could be uncomfortable. With the walking wheel, the yarn is being produced on a spindle. One spins and spins until there is no room left to draft out the fibers. Then, one reverses the wheel direction only long enough to unwind the portion of yarn out the end of the spindle. When the yarn reaches the base of the spindle where previous yarn has been wound, then one resumes the forward direction of turning the wheel and winds the yarn onto the base of the spindle. When the yarn is wound back up, then one allows the yarn to work its way out to the end of the spindle and resume spinning....
This experience re-whetted my appetite to eventually own a Great Wheel. I had seen one in a store window of an antique "mall" in downtown Bangor. Today, when I was released from work, I went downtown to look at the wheel. The Miner's Head was at right angles to the wheel instead of being parallel. The spindle was no where near where it should have been, and was pointing at the ground. It was obvious that the people did not know spinning or wheels. That piece worked to my advantage, as I was able to get them to drop down the price because the Miner's Head would need repair. It also needs drive bands, a cotter pin to keep the wheel from working its way off the axle, it needs two wedges of wood to maintain the front column on tension for the drive band, and the spindle needs new leather keeper straps, and maybe a new leather base. All in all, not in bad shape. The wheel is not warped (see photo, above, left). It spins freely. The join of the wood to make the circle of the wheel is intact, as are the spokes of the wheel. This particular wheel is grooved to keep the drive band in place, whereas the one Debbie has was a broader rim, but not grooved. It relies on the drive band tension to keep it in place on the wheel. I am quite happy - it made its way to my living room!