Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 2, Issue 4
March 2008
From the Collection

Spoke Tenoning Machine

Before the advent of automobiles and transport trucks in North America, carriages, wagons and dray carts were the most popular forms of transportation in areas that lacked easy access to a railroad. All of these vehicles needed some form of manufactured wheels. In fact, some early automobiles had wheels constructed of wood in the same manner as the common wagon wheel.

Spoke tenoning machine

It has been observed that the great era of North American invention and production occurred approximately from 1850–1900. The device shown here is an example of innovative thought of that era. The earliest production of wooden spokes for wheels used a square tenon at both ends, but as demand overtook supply, inventors developed gadgets, jigs and fixtures to ease the reliance on the specialist trades. This device may have been manufactured expressly for that purpose—it gave anyone who could turn a crank the ability to cut uniform pieces.

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