I'm rebiulding a vintage bike (1890s Crescent No. 7). I would like to know if there is a source for parts. I'm particularly interested (right now) in spokes. I've taken the wheels down to get some of the accumulated paint off (no use trying to preserve original paint; it's way past that) and I had to break a couple of spokes in the process. The spokes and nipples seem very similar to modern spokes and nipples, but I'm not sure about the length. Also, the spokes are tied together somehow, perhaps soldered or welded where they cross one another. Any clues about that?
Spokes are spokes. Except your wheels probably have straight gauge and not butted spokes. Nipples are a bit different for wood rims. They are an inch long instead of the standard half inch for metal rims.
And it sounds like your spokes were tied and soldered. You wrap a bit of wire around where the spokes cross and then add some solder. It increases stiffness to the wheel. It tends to be more favored by track riders over road riders. A nice touch but not necessary.
For spoke length, just measure a spoke from the elbow to the end of the threads. The front spokes can be a different length from the rear spokes. And on the rear, the drive-side spokes can be shorter than the nondrive-side.
Personally, I don't trust old spokes. I would relace them on your wheels if they were mine. I have built about a dozen or so wheels. I tried lacing some wood rims and gave up. It's like trying to true a rubber band. Maybe later this winter I'll give it another try.