removal of size and oil content, and in respect of rayon, oil content only. All the processes here referred to, detract from the weight of the thread, and in comparing the thickness of a rayon or nylon yarn with one of raw silk, the gum existing on the raw silk must always be kept in mind. Thus, a three-thread silk hose represents a total of 42± Den. on the knitting machine but after the removal of the “gum” prior to dyeing and finishing, the same hose now equals 34± Den.

To make a hose from nylon comparable with a three-thread silk stocking, a 30 Denier (finished) nylon would be required, which on the knitting machine, prior to the removal of the size and oil content, would represent a 32 Denier. (The size and oil content—representing 2 Den.—is scoured out during the dyeing and finishing process.) Thus a 45 Gauge stocking made from 30 Den. nylon or rayon would be slightly finer as regards yarn thread than would a three-thread silk stocking (34± Den. finished).


A particular “Gauge” is determined by the number of needles contained in the cylinder diameter of the circular stocking machine. This is termed the “needle count”. Thus, a 300 Needle Hose would be of coarser gauge than a 340 Needle Hose, providing the diameter of the cylinder of the machine was the same. There are, of course, exceptions to this, where—for instance—the fabric of a machine having 300 needles in the diameter of 3½" would be approximately equal to fabric produced on a machine having 340 Needles in a diameter of 3¾". Also, the matter of a manufacturer using a finer gauge needle (such as that known as a 70 Gauge needle) would make a finer hose fabric. The majority of machines in England have 300 Needles to a diameter of 3½".

The needle count ranges today are:-

260 280 300 320 340 344 360 370 380 400 432.

The greater number of hose are made on 300 or 340 Needle machines having diameters of 3½" and 3¾" respectively, and in referring to a hose made from 75 Den. and manufactured on a 340 needle machine, it is customary to refer to the construction of the stocking as 340 Needle (not needles) 75 Den. Another combination would be 300 Needle/125 Den., and so forth,



The factors which determine the sheerness of silk, rayon and nylon hosiery (or why one pair of stockings is finer in texture than another) are Denier (pronounced “Den-yer”) and Gauge.

The term “Denier” is used to indicate the size and weight of a thread; this is called the “count” of yarn. The denier is a small weight of Italian origin now standardised as equal to .05 grams. The denier number is determined by weighing a hank of 450 metres, i.e., 492.12 yards, and weighing this in deniers—thus, if 450 metres of a rayon yarn weigh 100 deniers, it is known as a 100 denier yarn. This system of yarn count is also applied to the threads of real silk as prepared direct from the cocoon filament.

450 metres or 492.12 yards of a single thread of silk would weigh from 13 to not more than 15 Deniers, giving an average of 14 Deniers. This small difference is accounted for by the natural spinning irregularities of the silk-worm during the forming of the cocoon. A single thread of silk is termed, therefore, 13/15 Denier.

The denier system is known as a direct system of yarn counts, and the higher the denier number, the coarser the yarn. By this system it is much easier to calculate resultant counts—all that is required is to add the numbers together, or in the case of real silk, to multiply by the number of threads.

 Example:-Two threads of 50 denier rayon are equal to 100 denier rayon 
 8 thread real silk = 8 x 14 = 112 denier on the knitting machine. 

A raw thread of silk as spun by the silkworm consists of two single filaments of fibroin surrounded by a layer of sericin—called “gum”. Although silk, rayon and nylon are all based on the Denier system as regards yarn thickness, taking silk as an example (with a denier of 14 Den. ±) owing to the pending degumming process, it would not be correct to say that a three-thread silk yarn would be equal to 42 Den. ± (14 x 3). The same applies in the case of nylon, the pending process here being the