Miniature Spinning Wheel
Miniature spinning wheel Made by Peter Hellman Aluminum and copper 1992.095.014 - Gift of Richard Hellman
Share this Item
Item CategoriesA to Z to A Artwork Danish Innovation Tools and Technology
Danish immigrant Peter Hellman made this miniature spinning wheel for his wife. He came from Mern in the south of Sjælland, to America in 1914. After moving around a bit he settled in Atlantic, Iowa, where he worked as a machinist and welder. He opened his own business in 1919, the Atlantic Machine and Auto Company. He employed mechanics to help him with the autos, but he did all machine work and welding himself. He was an incredible machinist and welder and he made the miniature spinning wheel out of pure memory of how spinning wheels looked and worked. He fashioned the spinning wheel out of scraps of aluminum and copper left over from his business. The finished spinning wheel is astonishing. The wheel turns in response to movement of the pedal and has a lot of small details. The miniature received a lot of admiration among those who have worked with metal themselves. They knew that it took a remarkable expertise to make a miniature with all the detail that this spinning wheel has. Customers at Hellman’s shop recalled him coming to work in a clean white shirt and at the end of the day he left still wearing a clean white shirt, a remarkable achievement for a machinist.