a lever or the like worked by continual action of the foot to impart motion to a machine.
a platform, as on a bus or trolleycar, for opening an exit door.
verb (used without object), treadled, treadling.
to work a treadle.

before 1000; Middle English tredel stairstep, Old English. See tread, -le

treadler [tred-ler] , noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
treadle (ˈtrɛdəl)
1.  a.  a rocking lever operated by the foot to drive a machine
 b.  (as modifier): a treadle sewing machine
2.  to work (a machine) with a treadle
[Old English tredel, from trǣde something firm, from tredan to tread]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"lever worked by foot," c.1400, from O.E. tredel "step, stair," from tredan "to tread" (see tread) + instrum. suffix -el (cf. handle).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The artisans who make this jacket create the pattern freehand as they guide the garment through a treadle-operated sewing machine.
The wooden foot-treadle spinning wheel is powered by the spinner's foot rather than a motor or the spinner's hand.
Sample a sugar cane drink fresh from the treadle operated press.
Underneath the table is an electric battery or a treadle, according to the
  power used in moving the cylinder.
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