Comparably primitive leg garments and bindings can be traced back as far as the Roman and ancient Egyptian civilizations. Following these less sophisticated attempts at leg wear came a long period of hand knitted stockings extending all through the medieval times.
In 1589 an English vicar, William Lee invented the first mechanical knitting machine. The reigning Queen Elizabeth I refused to grant Lee a patent for his knitting machine, deeming it a threat to all the hand knitters. For the first time it was possible to knit more shapely and better fitting stockings. Following this initial breakthrough, the production of stockings continued with basically few changes up to the 20th century.
Early attempts to produce elastic stockings were preceded by innovations such as the development of elastic rubber fibers. This was based on the invention of vulcanized rubber by American Charles Goodyear in 1839. Another milestone was the invention of circular knitting technology by British engineer Marc Isambard Brunel.
Leading up to the introduction of automated knitting machines in 1889, another British inventor William Cotton presented an advanced knitting machine capable of shaping heels and toes of hosiery in 1864.
One of the most significant breakthroughs to propel the production of modern day compression stockings was the invention of the synthetic fiber Spandex, which was patented by company DuPont in 1959 and is also known under the popular trade names Elastane or Lycra.
This synthetic fiber became famous for its amazing elasticity and strength compared to natural rubber as well as superior resistance to ingredients of creams and destructive UV sunlight.
It eventually replaced the natural rubber fibers in manufacturing compression and support stockings, providing consumers with much more durable support garments and an ever increasing variety of fashionable choices for compression hosiery.
If you liked this post please let us know by clicking the Facebook like button or the G+1 button below. We also appreciate any comments and personal experiences you have to contribute.