Dexter half of a wheel (Period)
A wheel is a circular spoked frame, attached to an axle by its hub and permitted to spin freely. Sets of wheels are normally found attached to wagons
, but wheels are often found as charges in their own right. The default wheel is more fully blazoned a “wagon-wheel” or “cartwheel”; it’s found as early as c.1340, in the arms of Berg [Zurich 232]. The number of spokes is usually left to the license of the artist – six or eight spokes seem to be the norm – but sometimes the number is explicitly blazoned. The wheel’s “proper” coloration is brown, the color of wood.
Particularly in German heraldry, we find examples of partial wheels: a quarter-wheel, as in the arms of von Billick, 1605 [Siebmacher 71], or a half-wheel, as in the arms of Rusetzker [Siebmacher 73]. The orientation of the partial wheel (e.g., “dexter half of a wheel”, as in the illustration) must be specified in blazon.
Catherine’s wheel (Period)
Variants of the wheel include the “Catherine’s wheel”, the symbol of the martyr St. Catherine, with curved knife-blades radiating from the rim. As an heraldic charge, it’s found in the arms of Brentingham, Bishop of Exeter 1370-94 [DBA3 443]. There is the “cog-wheel”, also called a “gear-wheel” or “mill-wheel”, with an embattled outer edge, used in mechanisms from tiny clockworks to giant mill-works; it’s found in the canting arms (German Mühle,
“mill”) of Mülinen c.1460 [GATD 20v].
Finally, there is the “water-wheel”, unique to Society armory, with vanes on the outer edge to draw power from running water. See also grindstone, spinning wheel.
Cyprian of the Wheel bears: Argent, a wooden cartwheel of twelve spokes proper.
Caterine Barré de Venoix bears: Barry azure and Or, a Catherine wheel gules.
Iathus of Scara bears: Ermine, a cog wheel gules.
Patrick MacFynn bears: Per chevron vert and azure, a chevron argent between two natural dolphins embowed respectant Or and a water wheel argent.
Catherine de la Loire bears: Purpure, a Catherine’s wheel missing the dexter chief quarter between three fleurs-de-lys argent.