The foundling wheel – late 12th century

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The first ‘foundling wheels’ were used in France at the end of the 12th century. It was a simple device designed to keep a mother’s identity secret from people on the other side of the wooden cylinder, inside which she placed her child. The cylinder was set in an outside wall in the opening for a window and rotated on a pivot so that when the mother rang the bell the person on the other side could turn it round and collect the child without seeing the mother.