Paying Respect to the Vintage Pausrädchen (Pounce Wheel)

A batch of high-quality vintage pounce wheels are customised for sale as an art edition in Germany.

Hand-painted pounce wheel in presentation box.
The limited edition Pausrädchen (pounce wheel).

In Germany, Sebastian Karbowiak tracked down the last of some vintage pounce wheels that eclipse their contemporaries for quality and durability. He then customised them for sale as a [now sold out] ]limited edition series. Here he documents his adventure to bring back the trusty 'Pausrädchen'.

The Trusty Pausrädchen

When Sebastian (Basti) Karbowiak of Kompagnon (@kompagnon.letters) trained as a Schilder und Lichtreklamehersteller (sign and illuminated advertising manufacturer) in 1996, it was obligatory for students to buy a Pausrädchen. This translates as pounce wheel, and is a less formal term than the more technical Kopierrädchen. (It is also the name of for the tracing wheel used in dressmaking and tailoring, and Basti notes that "Grandma would say Pausrädchen".)

Basti had been happily using his Pausrädchen until it finally needed replacing after 27 years in service. However, he was extremely disappointed with what he found available for sale in terms of handling and performance.

From Warehouse to Web Shop

In frustration he decided to research the manufacturer of that original wheel and found that they were still in business just 150 km (93 miles) from his hometown of Cologne. Although they no longer manufacture the wheels, they did have about 70 left in stock.

This got Basti thinking, and he ended up buying them all before "giving them a Kompagnon makeover to sell like an art edition with a t-shirt or sweater". To make sure he wasn't being blinded by nostalgia for his old wheel, he sent one to Miles Signs (@miles_signs) in Belgium for testing. His reply—"I love it, goes like clockwork"—was enough for Basti to forge ahead with his plan.

The Pausrädchen lettering that Basti developed to brand his custom Kompagnon pounce wheels.

Custom Wheels