Keeping History Alive
The Genesee Valley Sock Machine Club (GVSMC) was founded in 2006 by Greece resident Fred Hauck. The restoration, preservation and use of antique sock machines manufactured over one hundred years ago form the basis for the Club. Currently, GVSMC has 34 members. They meet once a month and frequently get together to give public demonstrations and share their knowledge about Sock Knitting Machines. Some GVSMC members raise sheep and alpacas which provides fibers for beautiful scarves or socks. Four members of the GVSMC own the popular Master Machine manufactured in Rochester by the Home Profit Company.
GVSMC founder Fred Hauck says his interest in sock knitting machines stems from his mother Florence Way Hauck. In 1923 Mrs. Hauck bought a sock knitting machine of her own. “My mother passed the sock knitting machine to me in 1976. My interest in the machines and the history of the manufacture of the machines in Rochester grew from there. From that time to the present I have been collecting, repairing, selling and engaging with others to promote the use of antique knitting machines. I receive daily calls from people with questions about the machines, I am a guidance counselor of sorts,” Fred Hauck said.
Hauck’s knowledge about antique sock knitting machines grew over the years. He was a founding member of the Circular Sock Knitting Machine Society (CSKMS) – an international organization for owners and operators of circular sock knitting machines. CSKMS will hold their Annual Conference at the University of Massachusetts Campus, Amherst, Massachusetts, August 3-5, 2017.
Few inhabitants of Rochester are aware that the city was the home of two knitting machine manufacturers, one of which went into business at the end of the American Civil War. The Lamb Knitting Machine Company began manufacturing hand cranked knitting machines in 1865, and the company soon gained world wide recognition. Isaac Lamb moved his company from Rochester to Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts in 1867, and 150 years later that company is still making knitting machines for commercial use.
The Home Profit Knitting Machine Company operated in Rochester from 1920 to 1924. The Home Profit Master Machine became one of the choice knitting machines sought after by hobbyists.
The public is invited to attend a GVSMC meetings and see sock knitting machines that were manufactured in Rochester over 90 years ago. For more information on GVSMC and how to become a member visit www.interprizez.org/GVSMC or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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