Hosiery Factory was started in Germanstown in 1831 by a Leicestershire man named John Button. This formed the nucleus of the Hose Industry in the U.S.A., and it is here mentioned because America is today one of the largest producers in the world of Fully-Fashioned and Seamless Stockings.

We take a lot for granted these days when we go into a shop or store and buy a pair of stockings, little realising the misery and anguish which, between spells of exhilaration, was experienced by all pioneers of the making of hosiery by machine knitting.


might have fallen into the lap of an error, only for want of true information.”

So Lee—after the construction of still finer gauges—took many machines to Rouen. The French Monarch, King Henry IV, promised Lee a patent, but the King—being a Protestant—was murdered on the day this was to be granted, and his widow, Mary de Medicis, was no more co-operant than Elizabeth of England. In discouragement, Lee died in Paris in 1610 (sorrow and misery are woven into the background of almost all inventions) and his brother James, with some of his people, took several frames back to England and founded framework knitting anew. From the frames left behind in France, the industry of knitted frame-building was carried on by Protestants under the protection of “The Edict of Nantes” which gave religious toleration and political power which later made the Protestants a danger to the French Monarchy. Unfortunately, they were constantly in rebellion, and before the Crown of France could become really supreme, and France could safely join in a European war, it was necessary to destroy the political power of the Protestants.

In 1685, Louis XIV. revoked the protection that had given Protestantism a right to exist in France. He perpetuated cruelties on the Huguenots, so that they sought refuge in Protestant lands, taking with them their skill and trade, and by the end of the 17th Century, framework knitting had spread to Germany, and later to Italy and Austria. This shows the expansion and spread of the industry to countries other than England.

Several improvements were made in England on Lee’s type of frame, each successive invention being jealously guarded by this country. In 1788, a penalty of £50 was imposed (a lot of money in those days) for exporting one of the machines, the penalty being later increased in the year 1818 to £500. In spite of this, however, a stocking frame—the first to be illegally smuggled out—reached the port of Boston, U.S.A., the machine having been bought in Nottingham and sent via Liverpool in 1818. concealed in a cargo of salt stowed loosely in bulk. The frame was finally taken to Ipswich, Massachusetts, in 1822, its joint owners being Benjamin Fewkes and George Warner, these two having gone out to America together from England. Later, a