American Sock Machines

Visit One of Our Sock Machine Museums!

Sock Machine Home

Sock Machine Museums
  *American Sock Machines
  *Canadian Sock Machines
  *Dutch Sock Machines
  *English Sock Machines
  *French Sock Machines
  *German Sock Machines
  *Italian Sock Machines
  *Scandinavian Sock Machines

Sock Machine Restoration Services

Pattern of the Month

Email Us

Web Site Map




Prayer Line

Oldtymestockings American Sock Machine Museum

Ainslie Auto Knitter Knitting Machine

The Ainslie Auto Knitter Sock Machine was manufactured in Brooklyn, New York by the Ainslie Knitting Machine Company.  Located on Ainslie Street, the firm's name was synonymous with its location.  Ainslie Auto Knitters were produced during the era of the Canadian Auto Knitters.  Hence, differences are subtle.

Ainslie Auto Knitters were known for their cherry red handles and deeply notched bed plates.  Unlike standard Auto Knitters whose bed plates were mirror images, the Ainslie bed plates were asymmetrical and deeply notched on the right edge.  These characteristics distinguish the Ainslie Auto Knitters from the Canadian, Fricke and Bogan Auto Knitters.

The Ainslie patent label was fastened to the side of the cam shell with two screws, usually on top of the original Auto Knitter decal.  The patent label featured gold lettering and trim on a black or burgundy background.  The company's name, address and serial number of the machine were clearly displayed.  Ainslie Auto Knitters were available in a wide variety of ribber dial and cylinder combinations.  30/60, 36/72 and 40/80 outfits were quite common.

American Family Knitting Machine

Distributed between 1868 and 1873 as the American Family Knitting Machine, this sock machine was based on Dana Bickford's original patents.  The manufacturing firm, Johnson Clark & Co. of Boston, Massachusetts & St. Louis, Missouri, ceased trading in 1873.  Subsequently, their sock machine patterns and rights were sold to J. E. Ford & Co.,of Montreal, Canada.

This unique circular sock machine is quite charming and rare in design.  The golden etchings and green foliage impart a warm appeal.  Unlike traditional sock machines, i.e. Gearharts, Auto Knitters, Legares, American Family Knitting Machines did not utilise cams to lift or lower the needles.  In fact, the needle path is engraved inside the cam shell.  In addition, the gear ring is constructed within the 72 slot cylinder.

This sock machine has an unusual design.  Ribbing attachments, yarn rods, yarn masts and yarn carriers were omitted.  Yarn was knitted directly from bobbins which were seated in the back of the machine.  Heel tension was obtained by threading yarn into one or both eyelet holes of the wire yarn guide.  Tension for the cylinder was acquired by manipulating the black screw at the front of the sock machine.  This would lower or raise the needles as they flowed through the needle path.

Auto Knitter Knitting Machine

The American Auto Knitter sock machine was manufactured at the height of the depression between the years 1920 and 1940.  This was a time when approximately 600 banks failed each year; "technological unemployment" entered the nation's vocabulary; agricultural, energy and coal mining sectors were continually depressed; construction of textiles, shoes, shipbuilding and railroads fell $2 billion; more than half of all Americans were living below a minimum subsistence level; and investors termed the 29th of October, 1929 as "Black Tuesday".  Losses for the month of October totaled $16 billion, an exorbitant sum in those days.

With the high cost of steel and limited industry, the Auto Knitter company constructed parts of their circular knitting machines from zinc alloys, commonly known as pot metal.  This manoeuvre increased the survival of the company during one of the most difficult economic periods of the century.  Even so, the Auto Knitter company, like many commercial enterprises, endured continued financial strain and eventually went to the receivers.

The Auto Knitter circular knitting machine was available in a wide variety of ribber dial and cylinder combinations.  30/60, 36/72, 40/80, and 50/100 outfits were readily available.  Additional combinations could be acquired on special order.

Bickford Family Knitting Machine

First patented the 10th of September, 1867, Bickford Family Knitting machines were produced by the Bickford Knitting Machine Manufacturing Company of Brattleboro, Vermont.  Bickford Family Knitting machines were prodigiously decorated with gold scrolling on their bed plates, cam shells and crank handles. 

Bickford Family Knitting machines were intended to meet all of the domestic needs of the household.  The company routinely advertised that Bickford Family knitting machines could readily produce ottoman covers, looped trimmings, carriage and door mats, hoods, breakfast shawls, blankets, nubias, table and piano covers, slippers, sashes, capes, tuftings, lamp mats and a host of other articles. 

Bickford knitting machines were manufactured without ribbing attachments and came standard with 72 and 100 slot cylinders.

Bogan Harmony Auto Knitter

Known for its emerald green hue and red stripes, the Bogan Harmony Auto Knitter was manufactured by the Bogan family from 1984 until the early 1990s.  Like the Fricke Harmony Auto Knitters, various models underwent modifications and improvements.

A 30/60 combination, Harmony Auto Knitter manual and a full array of knitting accessories accompanied each machine.  An instructional video featuring Norma Bogan was also available.  Norma's classic, elementary style of teaching continues to assist sock knitters worldwide. 

Branson Industrial Knitting Machine

The Branson Industrial sock machine was first patented on the 6th of May, 1979.  A final patent was attained on the 1st of May 1994.  During this time, the Branson Industrial sock machine underwent various updates.  However, the basic design of the traditional sock machine and its customary crank wheel were preserved.  With high slot counts and smaller gauge needles, the Branson Industrial knitting machine was well-suited for fine, delicate hosiery and trouser socks.

Cooperative Circular Knitting Machine

The Cooperative sock machine was manufactured in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Quite elementary in design, the Cooperative sock machine was not constructed with a ribbing attachment.  The Cooperative sock machine came standard with a 72 slot cylinder and customary knitting accessories.

Franz and Pope Automatic Knitting Machine

The Franz and Pope sock knitting machine was introduced in 1869 as a family knitting machine for domestic use.  Although its premier purpose was to produce substantial hosiery, it was also utilised to make fancy apparel, household adornments and various items of practical use.  The Franz and Pope circular knitting machine came complete with a 72 slot cylinder, a 100 slot cylinder and a standard array of knitting accessories.

Franz and Pope N2 Automatic Knitting Machine

The Franz and Pope N2 sock knitting machine was one of the earliest circular knitting machines manufactured by the Franz and Pope knitting machine company.  Unlike later models, the Franz and Pope N2 knitting machine lacked lavish decor and the conspicuous silver patent label on the crank wheel.  The Franz and Pope N2  sock knitting machine was designed to knit work hosiery from medium and heavy weight yarns.  Work hosiery was stronger and coarser than standard socks and worn chiefly by farmers and sportsmen.  The Franz and Pope N2. circular knitting machine came complete with a 60 slot cylinder and a standard array of knitting accessories.

 Franz and Pope N4 Automatic Knitting Machine

The Franz and Pope N4 circular knitting machine was notable for its lavish embellishments and ornate decor.  Golden decals of birds and foliage encircle the cam shell, base plate and crank wheel.  The Franz and Pope N4 circular knitting machine came complete with a 72 slot cylinder, a 100 slot cylinder and a standard array of knitting accessories.

Fricke Harmony Auto Knitter 1982

Fricke Harmony Auto Knitters were manufactured by Harmony Knitters, Inc. of Harmony, Maine.  Through the joint efforts of George Fricke, Ralph McCarthy and Kerry Bogan, Harmony Knitters, Inc. produced American Auto Knitters from the early 1980s until mid 1984.  Thereafter, the company was sold to the Bogans.

The bed plates of the Fricke Harmony Auto Knitters were distinct from their Canadian forerunners.  In particular, the Auto Knitter logo was not cast into the bed plates.  In addition, a holder for the ribbing attachment was absent.  Despite these differences, the traditional design of the Canadian Auto Knitter was well-preserved.

The ribber dial of the 1982 Fricke Harmony Auto Knitter featured a wide "cut out" area at the end of the needle slots.  Later models demonstrated a variation of this design.

Fricke Harmony Auto Knitter 1984

Fricke Harmony Auto Knitters were manufactured by Harmony Knitters, Inc. of Harmony, Maine.  Stock parts for the machines were purchased in the 1970s from a French Canadian brother and sister partnership.  Advancing age and infirmity persuaded the sister partner to leave the business and sell her share of Canadian Auto Knitter parts to George Fricke.

Castings and cylinders for the Fricke Harmony Auto Knitters were redesigned.  New parts were constructed from cast aluminum and machined by Kerry Bogan.  The ribber dials of the 1984 Fricke Harmony Auto Knitters were modified.  Note the slender slots and tapered contour.

Fricke Harmony Auto Knitters came standard with a 30/60 ribber dial and cylinder combination.  However, additional outfits such as 36/72 and 40/80 were readily available.

Gearhart Family Knitting Machine

With origins in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, this America sock machine remains a true favourite.   During its age of manufacture, Gearhart outfits varied considerably.  Ribber dials ranged from 16 to 70+ slots and cylinders ranged from 48 to 140+ slots.   Needle sizes varied as well.  Many of Gearhart's sock machines were manufactured without ribber attachments to facilitate use.  Wrought iron stands with needle and bobbin holders were an added attraction.

Gearhart's 1908 Family Knitter

The 1908 Gearhart Family Knitter is one of Gearhart's earliest knitting machines.  Improvements included a wider range of cylinder outfits, the creation of a curved handle and a newly designed yarn carrier.  Cylinder counts of 52, 54 and 56 enabled the production of infant hosiery and sport socks.  In contrast to the long, straight crank handle of previous models, Gearhart's 1908 Family Knitter demonstrated a compact handle.

Cast iron, flat-faced yarn carriers were the latest improvement.  Previous yarn carriers were manufactured from steel and consisted of two or more parts.  These parts were then fastened or welded together to create the yarn carrier.  Note the differences between the photographed and catalog depicted yarn carrier.

The ribbing attachment remained elementary, for it lacked a lever to disengage the ribbing attachment and a method to adjust ribber tension.  Notwithstanding, its simple design and operation makes the 1908 Gearhart Family Knitter a priceless treasure to many.

Home Profit 3 Circular Knitting Machine

The Home Profit 3 sock machine was a special edition knitting machine.  Marketed to knit infant and children's socks, the Home Profit 3 sock machine came standard with a 36/72 combination.  Note the comparison of the cam shell and cylinder to Home Profit's standard 4 sock machine.

Home Profit 400 Circular Knitting Machine

The Home Profit 400 sock machines closely resemble the Creelman Brothers' 400 series sock machines.  The shape of the base, cam shell, cylinder, ribber dial, crank wheel and tappet plate were virtually identical to Creelman's patents.  As one of the largest manufacturing companies of their time, the Creelman Brothers' produced numerous machines for private companies.  The P.T. Legare and the Home Profit Knitting Machine companies were two of note.

Home Profit Knitter The Master Machine

Manufactured by the Home Profit Hosiery Company until the late 1920s, this American sock machine hails from Rochester, New York.  Beauty and brass were combined in this spectacular sock machine.  Features included a built in stand; unique, two prong ribber attachment; solid brass ribber dials and solid brass cylinders.

A 36 slot ribber dial and 72 slot cylinder came standard with the Home Profit knitting machine.  However, 48 slot ribber dials and 96 slot cylinders were also available.  Special edition Home Profit Master machines with 3" cylinder diameters were produced to knit baby socks and children's hosiery.

Home Profit knitting machines were advertised by the Home Profit corporation as "The Master Machine of All Knitters"This American sock machine remains a gem amongst collectors.

People 's High Speed Knitting Machine

The People's High Speed knitting machine was manufactured in the early 1890s by Joseph. E. Gearhart in Clearfield, Pennsylvania.  The People's High Speed sock knitting machines were noteworthy for their revolving needle cylinders.  Despite numerous improvements, the People's High Speed circular knitting machines retained a remarkable similarity to the modern Gearhart family knitting machines.

Steber Family Knitting Machine

In 1906, Bernard T. Steber created the Steber Machine Company which remained in existence in Utica, New York until 1936.  Steber knitting machines were advertised to homemakers as the ideal sock machine to produce socks for the war effort.  Steber sock machines came standard with 24 slot ribber dials and 72 slot cylinders.  Additional cylinders of 52, 56, 64, 88, 100, 112, 120 and 140 slots were available at additional cost.  The Steber Machine Company invested a substantial amount of time in advertising the quality of their machines and declared that their cylinders were, "...made of a fine grade of iron, the same as automobile cylinders, and should last a lifetime."

Tuttle  N1 4 Circular Knitting Machine

Elegance and ingenuity are the hallmarks of this exceptional knitting machine.  Its soft contours, golden embellishments and floral decor would persuade any woman to consider its use. 

Patented in 1879 by the Lamb Knitting Machine Company as the first circular knitting machine with a ribbing attachment, the lady of the house was empowered with the most sophisticated technology of its time. 

Much like a swan, the ribber attachment stands tall and stately.  Its conical ribber dial was the first of its kind and permitted use of the ribber when knitting forwards and backwards.  Height of the conical ribber dial was obtained by adjusting a large thumb screw.

Ribber and cylinder needles were identical, making needle transfers swift and easy.  Cylinder tension was determined by regulating a tension wheel which elevated or lowered the height of the cylinder.  Ribber tension was modified in a similar fashion.

Tuttle knitting machines have a cunning design.  The machine can be set to knit with the cam cylinder in rotation or the needle cylinder in rotation when knitting backwards or forwards.  In addition, Tuttle knitting machines can be placed in neutral, where the crank handle revolves without any motion of the cam cylinder or needle cylinder.

Tuttle knitting machines came standard with solid brass counters.  The counters were attached firmly to the base of the machine with a single screw.  Additional models included a 3 inch, 3 inch and the rare 4 inch Special Edition Tuttle knitting machine.  Few 4 inch Special Edition Tuttle machines remain in existence.

Twombly Circular Knitting Machine

Twombly knitting machines were manufactured by two firms.  The Novelty Knitting Machine Company of Hartford, Connecticut manufactured Twombly knitting machines between 1878 and 1880.  The Twombly Knitting Machine Company of Boston, Massachusetts produced a later version between 1880 and 1889.

Both models were composed of a single ribber dial.  A full-length sock could be easily made on the Twombly sock machine, despite the lack of a cylinder.  Twombly sock machine were customarily mounted to window sills, ledges or similar sturdy surfaces and cranked in the same fashion as traditional sock machines.  Golden decals along the base of the machine were an added attraction.

| Sock Machine Home | New Products | Children of the King | Hand Knit Socks for Sale | Sock Machine Accessories | Sock Machine CDs & DVDs | Sock Machine Manuals | Sock Machines for Sale |
| Sock Machine Museums | Sock Machine Restoration Services | Pattern of the Month | Email Us | Web Site Map | Guestbook | Links | Events/Calendar | Prayer Line |

All titles, trademarks and logos are owned by All text, pictures
and photographs may not be reproduced in any manner without prior written consent.

Copyright 2000-08, Old Tyme Stockings, All Rights Reserved