Check out this video on how to use a Dealgan. This is fascinating to me! Why not--there are so many different versions of spindles and this is the most interesting one that allows you to spin and when finished slip off the ball of yarn.
What's a Dealgan? It's an 18th century Scottish spindle. A little piece of wood, really, about 5-6" long with a knob at the skinny end and a bulb at the far end, with a flat bottom and an X cut into that flat bottom. Why this shape and size, then? Portability, durability, utility. All are possible. It's one sturdy piece, so it can be dropped, tucked away, or even thrown with little chance of harm coming to it. It forces you to wind a sturdy ball similar to that wound on a nostepinne, and the conical shape means you can pop the ball off when you are done. The Dealgan is clearly a historical spindle.