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Hosiery Manufacturing in Nithsdale

Table top knitting machine

19th Century

This knitting machine came from the factory J & D McGeorge Ltd.  It was used for making the fingers to attach to gloves produced on the circular knitting machine.  Manufacturing at McGeorges was discontinued due to competition from fully automated machines from Japan which produce gloves with the thumb inserted into the side of the glove.


William Lee, a Nottinghamshire curate, produced the first knitting machine in 1589.  Over the next century the machine was improved, and by 1750 over 1400 hand frames were in use.  Until they moved into factories in the 1800s, most knitters worked at home, renting their machines, carrying out their own maintenance, buying yarn and regulating their hours.  Most knitting machines were large and were heavy to operate.  They were therefore most frequently used by men.

Place of Production:
Couvet, Switzerland (?)
wood, metal
height 1350mm, width 900mm
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
Digital Number:
Creation Date:
1881 - 1992
Dumfries & Galloway Council

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