Lamb Knitting Machine Manufacturing Corp.

Class 2, 110 needles, Serial Number 4637, Circa 1870

Patent dates Sep 15, 1863 Oct 10, 1865 Sep 28, 1869


This machine was found in very bad repair. About 90 percent of the paint was gone and rust abounded--you could barely crank it. I hand scraped all the paint off, which is pretty easy to do when the paint is that old--it is so brittle that it's almost self-scraping. Lots of polishing of metal, a new coat of black enamel, the wooden handle was made new, and new bearing plates were fabricated. Unfortunately, none of the beautiful gold decoration was visible when I started, so none was preserved. I have other machines that have the fancy gold decal (or painted?) decoration. Does anybody know how to replicate the design onto this machine?

The indentification plate is located on the end of the main sliding frame. Each Lamb flat knitter has a unique serial number. Later machines had the matching serial number stamped on the box, too.


I was able to get new needles from the Lamb Knitting Machine Corp., Chicopee, Mass 01021. They estimated the machine to be manufactured in 1870. Lamb made two models of this machine--this Class 2, 110 needle model, and a Class 1, 96 needle model. They use different width needles.

It knits very well. The entire black frame moves right and left across the bed & needles. The bed can be seen under the frame, and holds two rows of needles in an inverted V arrangement. Many contemprorary commercial Lamb knitting machines still use this basic design. It has the capability to plain knit in the round, producing a tube, or it can be set to knit flat panels of plain or ribbed material about 7 inches wide. This machine allows for moving needles in and out of operation for increase and decrease. However, if you need to replace a needle, you must remove the frame, disconnect the handle, then tap out the tapered bearing plates with a small hammer.

Copyright, Ralph Kanko, 1998

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