adaweinemanual_200pxIn her work, Mrs. Ada Weiner hits upon the idea of a better instruction manual for the beginner. So, as a knitting machine instructor and owner of her own small shop in Boston, she writes one based on her experiences in helping others learn to use the machine. In fact, she says that her instruction manual can also be used by the experienced person to understand the causes and solutions to mistakes.

This is in 1922, and it appears that even today, based on the steady volume of traffic at the knitting machines discussion groups, her idea still has merit. I see that many of the subjects under discussion today are covered by both her manual and by the catalog of responses used by the Gearhart Knitting Machine Company Service Department. Nice work, Mrs. Weiner.

She wrote an introductory letter and sent her manual to the company, and there it stayed, a lost and lonely manuscript which was never used. It is actually pretty good reading, and completely accurate. At 20 pages, it includes pencil diagram inserts and is nicely bound and reproduced. In her letter, she goes on to say that she would be willing to sell the print copyright to the company for a reasonable sum.

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No takers? Oh well. I’m not sure if anyone ever followed up. But Emory thought enough of the effort to put both her letter and her manual into safe keeping forever. If I were Emory, and I might be as close as you can get today, I would have raised eyebrows by her remarks. The Gearhart Knitting Machines are still in demand? Your instructions do not explain the operation of knitting carefully enough? In the end, I suspect her lack of tact may have gotten in the way.

littlebuildingMrs. Weiner’s, business, The Handy Shop, was located in the Little Building at 80 Boylston Street in Boston. Situated right across from Boston Commons, her shop is now the location of one of the campus buildings of Emerson College. I think she had very good spot for a shop, along a busy street of upscale businesses, and with a nice view of the city park. I am now wondering about Mrs. Weiner’s business, her customers, and whether she had other correspondence of a similar nature. If anyone has more information on Mrs. Weiner and her Handy Shop, I would very much like to follow up.

Here is a link to the location of her shop: click here

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