In my posting titled The Standard “Adult” Sock (click here), we can see the dimensions of an adult sock measuring 8.5 inches along the ankle and 11.5 inches along the foot. This was the model for all adult socks received by the Gearhart Knitting Machine Company.
In that post, I had asked if anyone had instructions for a child’s sock. Mary Schmedeke had these instructions, and sent a copy of them to the archives. The instruction book has a scottish person on front cover. And rightly so, for the socks were named “Wooladdie”, which sounds pretty scottish to me. In Emmott Harder’s cover letter to all the Home Earners, he directs them to stop making Men’s Half Hose immediately and instead switch over to making Wooladdie Hose, which he also calls children’s fancy roll-top woolen hosiery, or, according to the instruction book title, Children’s Fancy Sport Hose With Turn-Down Cuff.
The demand for children’s socks had grown rapidly; in fact so rapidly that the manufacture of Men’s Half Hose as well as the supply of Men’s Half Hose yarn was stopped in early 1925 to make room for this new market. I don’t have too much information on children’s socks. It looks like this development came along late in the company’s evolution, so the Gearhart Knitting Machine Company did not had much time left to ramp up a big marketing campaign, as was their custom when new ideas were executed. I’m glad Mary Schmedeke had a copy of this instruction book, because I haven’t found it in my own archives yet.
In addition to sending out a new instruction book to all the Home Earners, a Hem Hook was also sent out. This Hem Hook was used to help make a fancy hemmed top to the sock. And so, “if the hemmed top is made as described, the finished hose will present a neat and handsome appearance”. I’ve never seen this Hem Hook before. I’m wondering if anyone out there has one of these? If so, I’d like to hear from you. In fact, if you’d like to donate or sell your Hem Hook to the archives, please by all means let me know.
An 80 needle cylinder was needed, and an adjustment to the machine was also necessary in order to make these socks as noted in the instructions:
With a small pair of pincers or by using the end of the screw-driver and one of the weights as a hammer, hammer or bend the top of the Cylinder Pin over just a little bit or not more than 1/16 of an inch either to the right or left, so that when the Ribber is placed on the Machine with the Dial Lug resting against the Ping, the Ribber needles, when placed in half of the Ribber Dial Grooves, will operate and just miss striking the Cylinder needles. Be sure and not bend the Cylinder Pin more than necessary. This will not affect the quality of the one-and-one ribbed knitting when Ribber is used again for making the tops of men’s hose, as before.
Got that? Remember, its the 1920’s and you are on a farm without electricity way out in the middle of nowhere, with kids screaming in the background, and your family wants dinner NOW. As Gearhart happily points out, “its so easy even a child can do it”…
The instruction manual is 6 pages in length. I’ve attached a pdf document which you can call up by clicking (here). Children’s socks were 40% smaller than the standard adult sock, and as far as I can tell, the only other differences where in the design of the hem and the type of yarn used for the sock. There were two kinds of yarns used for the sock. One was called BODY yarn for the hose itself and the other was called COLORED yarn or silken floss for the fancy top decoration.
Its good to have both sets of instructions in the archives, for both Adult and Children’s Hose. I was kind of expecting the Children’s Hose to be about the size of a sock which would fit a 3-year old, which is tiny. It looks like the Gearhart Knitting Machine Company didn’t try to find a way to manufacture a sock quite this small and instead opted for a sock that would fit a 10-year old instead. I would think that a 3-year old’s sock would require an entirely different machine, but then you never know.