The pounce wheel is used in reproducing images and comes from a time before photocopying or carbon papers. It gets its name from its use together with a pounce bag. In the past the pounce wheel would make holes through the paper or card along the design lines. The paper or card is put over the material which is to have the imaged copied onto it. A small bag of black powder would be dabbed (pounced) on the cover paper leaving black dots on the surface below. These could then be used to trace the same image many times in what ever medium was being used.
|Two Pounce Wheels of Different Sizes|
As the photo shows, the pounce wheel consists of a pencil-like holder with the spiked wheel at the end. The wheel is on an angled axle similar to a bicycle to make it easier to follow straight lines by pushing away from your body. This allows a clear view of the line being copied. The smaller wheel is useful for tight curves.
The pounce wheel still retains a use in transferring images through opaque materials, although the full pounce process does not need to be used.
To copy part of one stage of a design onto a new one without using tracing or carbon papers you only need to layer a new sheet of paper under the current design and run the pounce wheel over the parts you want to copy. As you move the wheel along, it punctures through the top layer into the lower layer. Normally, the puncture marks are all that are needed to be able to reproduce the original lines.
|A crude pounced design|
You can also get symmetrical images by folding the paper along the centre line and running the pounce wheel over the line. Unfold the paper and use the puncture marks to make lines symmetrical to the other side.
You can use the wheel to create mirror images by running the pounce wheel over the card, turn the card over and draw using the puncture marks.