These stockings are on my mind lately because my museum, Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum, has a War of 1812 event and we are putting together a little exhibit on clothing and accessories that will include the stockings.
|The stockings have integrated reverse knitting that reads, "S. B. 1819"|
As we think ahead to exhibit text, there has been a little debate about how they were made. I know nothing of knitting or knitting history, but my colleagues do. One thinks that the stockings were knit by hand for personal use, and she bases her assertion on the construction and the presence of the initials "S.B." and the date 1819. Another colleague says there was an active home industry, especially for stockings, where the knitting was done on a frame. She feels that it would be easy to custom-order the personalized stockings from a professional. Since these were purchased from an antique dealer in Pennsylvania, there's little hope of determining who S.B. was, so our best chance for learning more is to look into stocking manufacture trends in general.
|Overall view of the foot.|
|This detail shows the connection of the heel and calf area, as well as the zig-zag pattern knitted into both sides of each stocking.|
|I figure that if you can tell whether stockings were made by hand versus on a frame, this side seam connection may be the key. Then again, maybe hand-made and frame-made stockings have the same kind of seam. I hope to find out.|
|The toes have been mended several times over. The mends appear to be period rather than recent.|