Ask Antique Trader: Spinning wheel worth $250

Q Could you please tell me what kind of spinning/flax wheel this is and what it might be worth?
 — S., via e-mail.

A It’s no wonder there is a plentitude of spinning wheels across the United States. Prior to the 20th century, it was commonplace for every rural home to have some form of a spinning wheel close at hand. Spinning wheels were a family’s way to turn rough wool, cotton or silk into smooth threat or yarn for knitting and weaving. The most commonly found spindle wheel is the Great Wheel, which is what you own. At more than 5 feet high, the Great Wheel is an imposing and beautiful spinning wheel. Since so many were produced, spinning wheels face two common circumstances: a glut of supply and the regular occurance of missing parts. It appears from the photo that your spinner still has its bobbin and flyer. I cannot make out if it still has its distaff, which was that was once used to hold flax for spinning. If your wheel is complete it can easily be worth between $250 and $350.

To learn more about the spinning wheel, read our out-of-print article on these wonderful antiques at

encyclopedia of antique american clocksEncyclopedia of Antique American Clocks, 2nd Edition, by Robert W. & Harriett Swedberg.

Available at

Q This was a gift and I have no idea of its origin It has no patent mark or any other markings except for the clock face that says “Sessions United” and that it is electric. Can you offer a value and origin?
 — F.R., Miami Beach, Fla.

A Your beautiful Queen’s Carriage mantel clock is a United Clock Model 640 made by the Sessions Co. of Connecticut. The Sessions Company was one of America’s longest running clock makers and their varied styles range from Colonial-influenced banjo clocks to funky, mid-century modern. The company closed in 1969. Some models feature three or four horses and date to the 1950s. During World War II, Sessions was recruited to make components for the war effort. Your United carriage clock made by Sessions is worth between $20 and $80.

Mid-Century Mystery continues

A possible manufacturer of bentwood furniture?

Reader Sue Neave of Pennellville, N.Y., suggests the maker of the set of mystery chairs could be the B.L. Marble Furniture Co. of Bedford, Ohio. A photo of her chair and the original paper label found under the seat is shown here.

Sue writes:

“Have you considered this maker – B.L. Marble Furniture Co., Bedford, Ohio? They made a lot of office furniture from what I could find. Enclosed are pics of a chair I recently sold, which looks similar. Here is the label that was on the bottom, also there were markings.

Good luck!”

Well, Sue, it sure looks like our mystery chair could belong in the same family as your stunning, mid century oak treasure. However, it’s not a definitive answer. Are there any other readers out there who have seen these chairs before? The original question is reprinted here: “I bought these chairs at an auction over 10 years ago and can’t find makers name or tags. They look modern to me, but I am not sure. They are in good condition with just a little rub here and there. Can you help with maker’s name and value? Read your column every month and it is interesting and informative. — J.R., via e-mail.

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“Ask Antique Trader” submission guidelines

You can send your questions to “Ask Antique Trader” either by e-mail with attached digital images (preferred) or by regular mail with color prints (photos cannot be returned). In either case, be as detailed as possible regarding condition, dimensions and markings. As always, we’ll select the best examples to feature in our pages.

We love hearing from readers, so let us know what you like about Antique Trader and how we can improve the magazine. We cannot provide valuations of antiques and collectibles over the phone.

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