Early Wooden Steering Wheel
 

This is believed to be an aircraft steering wheel apparently found in a hangar on a British airfield but further research is required.

An authority on pre-war aviation, Carroll Gray, has now provided the insight that this is “quite likely a control wheel from a monoplane fitted with ‘Deperdussin-type’ controls, perhaps from  a Deperdussin, Handley-Page or Blackburn monoplane. I would date the wheel to 1910-1911, perhaps as late as 1912. By 1913 the manufacture of the "spider" in the center of the wheel would have almost certainly been of aluminum. I note that the wheel's "spider" appears to be a laminated (oak?) wooden structure, reflecting a time (1910-1911) when weight would have been held to an absolute minimum, due to the low-power engines then available, and hence a laminated wooden "spider." An early date (pre-1912) is also suggested by the finger grips evident on the backside of the wheel itself. The central "hub" would have been bolted to a metal drum around which the control wires would have been wound. That it is not an automobile wheel can be determined with a good deal of certainty by reflecting on the laminated wooden structure of the "spider," a design feature which would have not been welcome (and would have been unnecessary) on an automobile.“   The spokes have an interesting design which might help in determining manufacturer, as shown below.