Burson and Nelson

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Burson & Nelson Soundex Code B625

Automatic Knitting Machines

In 1866, William Worth Burson along with John Nelson, under the firm name of Burson & Nelson, the invention of a family knitting machines was jointly undertaken. Mr. Nelson was obliged to give his attention largely to his sash, door, and blind factory for some time, but Mr. Burson applied himself to the business and in hand and after much tedious labor by both, a power machine was perfected. On these machines patents were issued to Burson and Nelson in 1868. In 1869, the part now known as the "presser hook" was developed. In July 1870, the first sock was knit by an automatic machine in Rockford. The socks came from the machine joined together and were separated by hand, and the toes closed. This was the first practical automatic knitting machine. In 1872-3, the parallel row machine was developed. This was the beginning of Rockford's great knitting industry. These machines were automatic and closed to toe and heel, producing a stocking ready to wear, without hand work. "Rockford Seamless Socks" were pioneers on seamless hosiery, driving the old line of goods out of the market.