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Determining the Value of an Antique Sock Machine

Perhaps, you have recently purchased an antique sock machine and are inquisitive of its worth.  We may be able to assist you with a determination of its make, model and time of manufacture.  However, a determination of its value can only be acquired by "physically" examining the machine, inspecting it and operating it.

As with an automobile on a used car lot, one can only estimate its value by opening the hood and "physically" inspecting the individual parts, i.e. the transmission, engine, fuel pump, e.t.c. and "driving it" at various speeds under various conditions.  Only then can one determine if the car runs smoothly, makes troubling noises, idles poorly or stops running altogether.

An honest car mechanic cannot give you an indication of the car's value or quality from sight alone, regardless of how beautiful and shiny the exterior.  Hence, pictures of the car are worthless.

Only upon "physically" examining the car, will the car mechanic see that the radiator is corroded, the fuel pump is leaky or the muffler is damaged.  The car will not run properly with a corroded radiator, a leaky fuel pump or a damaged muffler.  Sight of the exterior does not provide this information, which is crucial to the car's quality and value.

The quality of any sock machine should be established by the seller of the machine.  The seller should be fully knowledgeable about the limitations and abilities of the machine.  In addition, the machine should come with a full guarantee that it will knit AND rib a full-length sock from start to finish.  

The fact that the needles raise and lower, the crank wheel turns or some other facet is useless.  The used car on the car lot may turn on when ignited.  Its wheels may spin round and round when lifted upon a car jack.  Only upon driving the car and putting it into full operation, will you discover that the front axle is bent, the engine stalls or the muffler bellows black clouds of smoke.  All of which are hallmarks that the car is not operational.

In addition, if the sock machine has a ribbing attachment, it must be demonstrated to be in full, working order. Since the ribbing attachment makes purl stitches, it houses 50% of the machine's operation.  Hence, if the ribbing attachment is not in working order, unreliable or unstable in operation, you will not be able to make ribbing, traditional selvedges or knit with the machine under advanced conditions.  Often, sock machines sold on auction sites do not show the ribbing attachment in working order.

Quite frequently, the ribber dial is devoid of needles and placed in position on top of the machine, inferring that it is in full, working order.  Another scenario is that the ribber dial is placed in position on top of the machine, filled with needles, but does not contain actual, ribbed knitting.  Even so, the seller declares the machine to knit "perfectly".  Both instances are truly misleading, since the needle cylinder may show knitting in place.  Under these circumstances, a novice may quickly believe the ribbing attachment to be in sound, working order.

The preceding examples are fiery, red flags, for one should not expect the ribbing attachment to be in full, working order without a demonstration of its use, despite how "beautifully" the machine has been painted or how "shiny" it appears.  The exterior of the machine is not a reflection of its knitting abilities.  This can only be determined by physically inspecting and fully operating the machine.

We at Oldtymestockings have seen these situations time and time again.  In fact, 86.9% of our customers are previous auction site purchasers.  Those who are not familiar with how to purchase an antique sock machine successfully continue to purchase machines that fail to meet their expectations.

We pray that this guidance will assist you in determining the quality and value of a sock knitting machine.  May God's grace be upon you.  Have a blessed day.


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