Stocking knitting frame by Cooper Corah and Sons, c. 1777

1770-1785 in Leicester

Stocking knitting frame by Cooper Corah and Sons, Leicester, England, about 1777.

This knitting machine, although made in about the 1770s, is similar to the original frame invented by the Rev. William Lee in 1589.

There is a horizontal row of needles with hooks or beads, which can be depressed by the pressure bar, so that the points of the needles enter grooves in the shanks to form closed hooks. Between the needles are notched steel plates called sinkers. The alternate sinkers are in two sets; the jacks, which can be raised or lowered individually and the leads, which move up or down together.

The thread is placed over the needles and the jack sinkers are dropped successively to form loops over every second needle. The lead sinkers are then lowered and the jacks raised together a little to divide, double and equalise the loops between each pair of needles. The sinkers are then brought forward to push the loops under the beards. The presser is brought down to close the beards. The sinkers are raised and brought forward to land the previous course of loops on the beards. The presser is raised and the sinkers continue forward to knock over the fabric from the needles onto the new course of loops. The sinkers are again lowered and moved back, taking with them the fabric, now suspended from the last course, clear of the beads. The sinkers are then raised ready for the next cycle of operations, each of which results in the addition of a course of loops to the fabric.

On display

Science Museum: Making the Modern World Gallery

If you are visiting to see this object, please contact us in advance to make sure that it will be on display.

Related people


Textiles Machinery
Object Number:
lead, steel, timber and wrought iron
stocking frame, automatic knitting, frame knitting, hose knitting, knitting machine and stocking knitting
N. Corah and Sons Ltd.

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.