NEWEL (O. Fr. nouel or nod, modern noyau, properly a kernel, from Lat. nux, nut; other foreign equivalents are Ital. albero, Ger. Spindel), the term given in architecture to the central shaft of a semicircular or winding staircase, which is built up or consists of the narrow ends of the steps standing one over the other. When in stone, both newel and steps are cut out of the same block; when in wood, the newel becomes a vertical post into which the steps are housed. The term is also given to the vertical post at the foot or the angles of a square staircase, into which the carriage or beam carrying the steps is tenoned.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)