I have started to do a little research on the Gearhart Knitting Machine Terms and Condition. It should be noted that the Gearhart guarantee was offered with a sense of pride in their machine. I can say this because I have not seen any evidence that machines were returned to the factory, at least not in numbers that would merit attention. I don’t see it in the testimonials, or the financial papers, or the notes from the Service Department, or in any personal or public correspondence.

The Gearhart Knitting Machine was looked at as an investment by the purchaser. Back in those days, it was purchased more often than not by a rural household in order to earn extra income. This is generally not the case these days. I’ve found two documents in the archive so far, and no doubt I’ll find others as I continue to read through things. Here they are:

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The first document is called GENERAL TERMS. Here is the key paragraph:

MONEY REFUNDED IF NOT AS REPRESENTED. You are assured that you run no more risk in sending cash with order than on free trial as, if on receipt of Knitter you should think it not as represented, we will take it back if we find you are correct, and will make it correct and return to you, or we will promptly refund your purchase price if you show us our claims are not correct.

This paragraph applies to defects and satisfaction with the machine when received. So, if it does not agree with the way it was described, or if you receive it in damaged condition, the Gearhart Knitting Machine Company will either fix it, replace it, or give you a refund.

The second document is called Assignment of REFUND GUARANTEE, and was written for the Home Earning Plan. This plan included coverage of the machine as well as your ability to knit a sock with it. Here are the key paragraphs:

Upon the purchase of a Gearhart Knitter under the Gearhart Home Earning Plan, the Gearhart Knitting Machine Company pledges that the Home Earner co-operating with the Company will be taught to understand the machine and to be able to make hosiery with it.

In order to establish the Company’s obligation, under it’s Guarantee, it is required that the Home Earner apply for additional instruction if same is required within a period of sixy days. The Company will then give such additional and personal instruction as may be found advisable to insure the ability of the Home Earner to operate the knitter or, failing in this service, the Company will request the return of the machine and full refund.

I should note that the “additional and personal” instruction by the Gearhart Knitting Machine Company was at no charge to the purchaser. The company employed a network of Instructors, and paid these instructors to travel by train all over the country in order to help the purchaser learn how to use the machine. In addition, the company’s Service Department offered free individually-written instructions on how to correct specific defects found in the socks that were sent in for review.

I’d like to see if I can find the guarantee for a machine without the Home Earnings Plan. It would be interesting to see if the company guaranteed that the purchaser would be able to produce socks good enough for sale, without the company actually receiving any income for distributing those stocks to retailers across the country.

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