The spinning wheel is an instrument for spinning a clump of fibers.

This tool consists of a spindle, usually of wood, finished by a head in which the branch of fiber is inscribed that is spinning, which incorporates a wheel, and a pedal or crank .

When we are first exposed to the device we might think that the actual wheel part of a spinning wheel is what does all of the work. In fact it does not take place of the spindle, what it does instead, is that it automates the twisting process, allowing the spinner to "twist" the thread without having to constantly do so manually which was a very lengthy process. The size of the wheel, however, allows you to more finely control the amount of twist the finished thread is given. The thread still ends up on a spindle, just as it did pre-wheel.