Their greatest use
surfaced during times of war when Britain, the
United States and other countries required military
socks, mufflers, mittens and other warm attire for
During the war,
wool socks proved to be the greatest necessity.
The demand for wool socks always exceeded the supply.
Women in every country
knitted socks to support their soldiers.
However, hand knitters could not produce socks in
proportion to the need. As a result, the
supply of wool socks dwindled to critical levels.
Agencies such as
the American Red Cross and the
Soldiers Wives' League rose to the challenge.
Antique sock machines
were well established in society. Thus, national and
international Red Cross agencies purchased scores of
antique sock machines and provided them free of
charge to women, children and unlisted men.
commonly known as "tea knitting sessions" were
quickly instituted. Women of all ages,
backgrounds and titles would assemble at large
gathering halls to knit and pray day after day.
It was not uncommon for
a knitting session to produce several hundred pairs