Skip to main content

hosiery trade

hosiery trade. The trade had its origins in antiquity and remained a handicraft industry until the 16th cent. when William Lee, a Nottinghamshire clergyman, invented the framework-knitting machine. Many regions of the British Isles had maintained or developed the making of specialized hand-knitted wear, not just for family use but for sale elsewhere. The widespread use of frames had developed by the later 17th cent. making use of long staple wool yarns. The east midland counties of Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire became centres for framework-knitting during the 18th cent. The processes took place in the homes of the workers. Working with frames required light as well as space and so houses were built with large windows in the upper storey. Specialized products included stockings, gloves, caps, and many other types of garment. To a considerable extent, then as now, the prosperity of the industry was determined by the dictates of fashion.

Steam-powered frames were developed only in the second half of the 19th cent., accompanied by other inventions such as William Cotton's patents of 1864 which made possible the knitting of fully fashioned garments. The industry still plays a vital role in the economy of the east midlands, producing a great diversity of textiles. The sophistication of modern machines includes the use of computers to design and control production, superseding Jacquard controls. An important innovation of the 1970s was the lock-stitch, invented by Gordon Wray, which enabled new ways of processing and using textiles.

Until the 19th cent. wool fibres dominated knitting but other textile fibres came into use. In the later 20th cent. not only did man-made fibres for garments become common, but industrial uses of knitting processes utilized other materials such as fibre glass.

It was usual practice for the finishing trades of the bleachers and dyers to develop alongside hosiery. Similarly suppliers of frames and needles became established in the same geographical areas.

Ian John Ernest Keil

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"hosiery trade." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"hosiery trade." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hosiery-trade

"hosiery trade." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved October 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hosiery-trade

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.