Sock Machine, Socks in Two Hours?

I would like to introduce you all to my antique circular sock machine.  This one is from the turn of the century I purchased the refurbished machine 4 or 5 years ago from a lady in Hanover, Pa. after watching her make a scarf in about 3 minutes.  Jaw dropped and there was drool.

circsock09fA little bio of my baby, it was designed by French Canadian, Pierre-Theophilus Légaré (1851-1926), and manufactured by his company that specialized in farm equipment.  I have two barrels 72/54 stitches, a ribber, swift and cone winder, also the 10-15 pounds of weight to keep the tension and prevent stitches popping off.

This photos are all from a Civil War reenactment so I am working with 100% wool but I am able to use any material in a sock weight.  The maroon that you see is the waste yarn separating the socks that come out in one long tube.  I go back through and separate and sew up the toes, although the sock scarf could be a new fashion trend.

circsock09bEach barrel, I don’t think that is what they are actually called but that is what I’m going with, has slots for the hooks.  The one pictured is the 72, you can kind of make out the latches that catch the yarn as the machine pulls them down through the last row.  This size makes a standard adult sock, I change the sizes by adjusting the tension and number of rows for the foot.  I have made socks from size 4 to size 16,  I have a regular customer who is a knitter but doesn’t want to knit size 14 socks for her husband, I can whip them out in a couple hours.


A shot looking up from underneath with a sock on. The read is the heel, it is a short row heel. I usually do those since they are the easiest to create on the machine although not the only style.


Some of the tools and I use along with the machine. The gold nob thing is where I adjust the tension of the stitches by raising or lowering a cam that moves the hooks.


Another shot with out yarn on so you can see all the hooks.

6 thoughts on “Sock Machine, Socks in Two Hours?

  1. Wow! I’ve seen antique knitting machines but never used one. I’d love to see photos of the socks this made — I’m assuming they are like modern tube socks (no turned heel?). And you should definitely go for a “tube sock scarf”. It could be THE new thing. 🙂

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