In New England in the 1830's, the most popular silk reeler was the "Piedmont reeler", which was widely used in both France and Italy at that time. Instructions for building them were given in various silk grower's manuals and journals.
Piedmont reelers were intended for home use. (Cocoon growers often had the option of selling their cocoons to the factory or of reeling it themselves and selling the skeins.)
In the spring of 1998, three Smith College students -- Vanessa Larson (left), Beth Caton (right), and Alena Shumway -- workingunder the supervision of Machine Shop Director Greg Young, built a replica of the Piedmont Reeler.
This reeler is being used in Northampton Silk Project workshops; later it will be part of an interactive exhibit on the Northampton silk industry.