My friend Jane (Lady Bunbury on Instagram) has been making a scrap rug Buggy/Wagon Wheel Rugs and asked me to source the history of the craft.
I simply couldn’t find anything that predated the 30s, it doesn’t mean they didn’t exist before this, it just means I couldn’t find any instructions, mentions or documentation, in the time I have been looking.
I can say that there is no mention of them in Ella Shannon Bowles’ 1927 book Handmade Rugs, the only ‘wheel rugs’ in the book are just round braided rugs, but Bowles was a New England author and these may have started as a regional craft. I recommend downloading the book from archive.org as it is an excellent book on scrap rugs of the 19th century (her books are no longer covered under copyright regardless of the date, they were never renewed.)
The page extracts are from 1936 Colorado State College Ext Bulletin 344-A which is a nice book on handmade rugs available to download.