LEWISBURG - Liz Rhode and her circular knitting machine will be on hand at the Rural Heritage Day on July 12 at the Dale/Engle/Walker House, 1471 Strawbridge Road, just off Route 192.
She will be among other demonstrators of fiber arts, which include spinning, weaving, lace making, luceting, quilting and sewing with a treadle machine.
The day is sponsored by the Union County Historical Society.
Rhode's machine is circular and dates from the early 1900s.
Circular sock machines became more popular during World War I as the Red Cross and other organizations worked to help provide the soldiers with socks.
Civil War socks are Rhode's specialty. She uses a pattern that was shared during that era.
The machine cut the knitting time from 10 to 15 hours for a pair of hand-knitted socks down to two hours. This allowed more soldiers to be provided for by those still at home.
Issac Lamb invented the first domestic knitting machine in 1863 to make mittens and gloves. A few years later, he purchased the rights for another man's idea of mechanically knitting in a circle.
Lamb's company grew and eventually had facilities to manufacture knitting machines in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts; Rochester, New York; and Perry, Michigan. Other companies made knitting machines, as well.
By the end of the 19th century, home knitting machines, both flat and circular versions, were popular and expensive. A treadle sewing machine in Sears and Roebuck was priced at $15 in the 1890s, but more than $100 was charged for a knitting machine.