Silk twister's wheel, cross and reeler for twisting silk by hand, c 1770.


Silk twister's wheel and cross for silk throwing, 1760-1780. To produce a silk yarn of sufficient strength for weaving, it is necessary to twist together the filaments from a number of cocoons; this is known as throwing. The threads of silk are hung on the 24 hooks of the wheel head by the twister and taken around the hooks of the 'cross' by the boy and back to the hooks of the wheel. The wheel is turned, which rotates the hooks and twists the doubled thread, he next puts the threads together in groups of threes and passes around the cross and back to the wheel as before. The wheel is then turned in the opposite sense to reverse the thread twist. The eight threads are then reeled into a skein.


Textiles Machinery
Object Number:
silk thrower's wheel and cross, doubling, plying, silk throwing, twisting
Hugh Sleigh and Co.

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.