Saturday, December 29, 2012

Metal Spindles?

 Or a parable about too little information - and working from photographs on the web

 The following from NORSEFOLK

1.1. Re: spindle hooks?

Posted by: "KAREN"
I have seen a photo of 3 spindles in the Dublin Museum that are from the Viking Era. They are VERY rare as the spindle shafts are made of metal, the whorls are also metal. They are so corroded I can't say if they were made by pounding or by being molded, nor can I tell if they were made in one piece or were made in 2 pieces and then fitted together.

Posted by: torran   Are these the spindles?
that was from The National Museum of Ireland.

Posted by: "KAREN"
My memory was a color photo, one of the spindles was green as if it was aged copper or bronze.

A couple of things: the image quoted is from a blog.
The blog is at :

 For the computer unskilled, if you search via google images, use the image name, you get a link over to the larger scale image - on the source blog.
If you check the profile of writer 'eimearee', you will see she lives in Dublin Ireland. I'd suggest that maybe one of you might just e-mail her via either her profile or as a direct comment on the piece. (odds are good that finding kindred souls might be of great interest to her!)

The image by eimearee
Right off the start, eimearee does not specifically say the spindles seen are metal:

 " The following photos are from the 'Viking' display, mostly found around the Wood Quay / Fishamble St area in Dublin. "
" These teeny tiny spindles are about the same length as a crochet hook; the whorls were tiny..."

 The Woods Quay site is one of those rare waterlogged locations. This results in the preservation of organics, especially at this site both wood and leather. The same conditions are extremely poor for metals preservation, especially iron.

The larger scaled image on the blog shows more details. All the images have been reduced to black and white (I suspect for file size). This may be critical for several reasons:
1) Size? You could speculate that the key numbers are the standard 1 cm tall plastic letters many museums use.
2) Material? Extremely important! If metal (at all) are they Bronze or Iron??
This will effect the overall weight of the spindles - which directly effects the thread diameter produced.
The speculation that they are metal is based on the hooks. (They might actually be wooden??) My WAG is that if these are metal at all, they are cast bronze, not iron (based on the state of preservation). The shape of #11 especially, suggests a cast, rather than forged, object. But without a wee bit more information, that is just blind speculation.

The truly serious could just contact the museum?

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February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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