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Thread: CSM... box

  1. #1
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    30th January 14
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    CSM... box

    My mother was somewhat of an antique collector and acquired this box… somewhere. It has been around as long as I can remember. Over the years it has served various functions (plant stand, garbage can, muddy shoe box) and was always referred to as, “The sewing machine box.”

    Over this past weekend we were cleaning up some water damage from a roof leak caused by a severe wind storm and came across “The sewing machine box”.

    Tulach Ard

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  3. #2
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    24th September 04
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    Victoria, BC Canada 48° 25' 47.31"N 123° 20' 4.59" W
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    The is the shipping box for a Gearhart hand-cranked sock knitting machine.

    This history around these machines is fascinating. In the 1580's a guy named William Lee was working on a method to create knitting by machine. Eventually this led to what is known as a knitting frame.

    As the industrial revolution kicked off in the mid 1700's there was a big fear that this new industrialization would destroy old cultures and ways of life. A movement started that would see crowds known as "Luddites" going around breaking the frames.

    By the 1800 the latch hook knitting needle made it possible for smaller more efficient and less expensive knitting machines. The Gearhart machines were some of the first to take flat knitting and create a machine that was circular to knit tubes.

    By the start of WWI these circular knitting machines were being sold door to door like Fuller brushes and vacuum cleaners. Ladies could knit socks, mittens, hats and scarves for their families and could use the sale of any extra they could produce to supplement the family income.

    During WWI the American Red Cross was given control of all the wool production to produce knitted goods for the troops. The word went out. "People, start knitting". Men would knit on the morning commute to work. Students at schools and universities would knit between classes. Even one of the wealthy Long Island families converted their ball room into a knitting factory.
    It is said that quite a few of the sock, scarves mittens and what we call today the "jeep hat" were knitted on these home machines.

    In 2004 an old school machinist in Cape Girardeau, MO. found an old Gearhart machine at a farm auction. Bought it, took it back to his machine shop and bolted it to his secretary's desk. Every day a piece would be missing off the machine. The next day a new piece would appear. After a while a complete reproduction of a 1924 Gearhart sock knitting machine was sitting next to the original.

    I happen to have a few of these machines and use them to make custom kilt hose.





    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

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  5. #3
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    Knitting Machine

    I love to see the old stuff still in action. Thanks for the information!

    Jack

  6. #4
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    I don't mean to disappoint you GrymJack but, while I do own antique machines, the two machines in my photos are not old. They are recently made of modern materials and with modern machining techniques.
    The new machines have a few advantages over the antiques in the precision tolerances and the quality of materials but are, on the whole, not much different from the antiques.
    The antiques are great for taking to shows and letting people see them work but most of the socks I make are knit on the new machines.

    I often have to put the antique machines in perspective for people by comparing finding an antique circular sock machine in someone's attic to finding a 100 year old car in somebodies garage. You don't really expect to drive that car home. And you have to learn the differences in ways that cars were made, driven, and maintained back then from those made today.
    The antique sock machines are old world steam engine technology. They need to be oiled. Most people today have never owned a machine that needs to be oiled. They simply don't know how or why any more.

    This thing about learning to use antique machinery is an art form all to its own. Many antique machines are designed to fit together sloppy by today's standards. The parts fit looser and it is grease and oil that tightened them up when used.
    Ladies who use these machines today are all concerned about this idea of oil. Oil to many today is a bad thing. It stains and drips and gets on your hands.
    The folks who make these machines actually searched to find a modern, synthetic oil that is similar to the whale oil that was used when these machines were originally made.

    And there was a lot less in the way of standardization than today. You do not know for sure if the antique replacement part you buy will fit your machine. Even from the same manufacturer about the same time. There is a lot of trial and error, a lot of 'make do', and a lot of 'work-arounds'.

    But it sure is fascinating, and relaxing, to see and operate these machines. When I make a pair of custom kilt hose half the fun for me is operating the machine.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

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