A wickstretcher is a spaceship-like pattern that stretches a wick that is fixed at the other end. The wick here is assumed to be in some sense connected, otherwise most puffers would qualify as wickstretchers. The first example of a wickstretcher was wickstretcher 1, which was found in October 1992 and stretches ants at a speed of c/4.
Diagonally moving c/4 wickstretchers have also been built (see boatstretcher). In March 1999, Jason Summers constructed a very large c/12 wickstretcher using switch engine-based puffers found earlier by Dean Hickerson. The wick in this last case is the simplest possible one: a single line of diagonal cells. In July 2000, Summers also constructed a c/2 wickstretcher, stretching a period 50 traffic jam wick. This was based on an earlier (October 1994) pattern by Hickerson.