So here’s the dilemma. You’ve spent a considerable amount of time and energy to produce an absolutely perfect sock on your Gearhart Knitting Machine. Its a work of art; perfect in every way. But one day you discover to your horror that there is a hole in your masterpiece! What to do? Throw it away? Set it aside and frame it as a family heirloom? How about restoring it back to its new condition…
This is what Joseph Gearhart may have been thinking when, in 1890, he came out with a Darning Machine to go along with his Knitting Machine. Its a small but useful machine, as shown in his description below.
I don’t have the actual machine, as he calls it, so I can’t try it out. But it looks pretty handy and its only 50 cents. It is also interesting to note the name he is using for the company – the Gearhart Machine Co. rather than the Gearhart Knitting Machine Co. Over time, Joseph also invented a rail-car pusher, a match-safe, a vacuum cleaner, a drill-press key chuck, and several other devices in addition to the Knitting Machine. So, in 1890 his company name gives us a hint that he was thinking about producing many different machines in addition to the Gearhart Knitting Machine. Of course as we now know, he eventually opted for the name Gearhart Knitting Machine Co.
At the bottom of the description is a note written by Emory, his son. It says One of father’s. Manufacture date 1890.
By the way, Joseph sold his Rail-Car Pusher patent rights to the Pennsylvania Railroad for $75, and the Rail-Car Pusher is still being manufactured and used today. Its probably one of the best deals the railroad industry ever made.