The development of warp knitting

Warp knitting, the second and smaller section of machine knitting, was never a hand-manipulated craft. It was first developed by Crane and Porter in 1769 as a method of embroidery plating, by means of multiple warp thread guides, onto stocking fabric as it was being knitted on the hand frame.

As the technique improved, purely warp intermeshed loop structures without the weft knitted ground began to be knitted and Crane patented his warp loom in 1775. Tarrat is credited with developing the first efficient treadle-operated warp knitting frame in 1785. Two important later developments were Dawson's wheels for shog-ging the guide bars, and Brown's use of two separately-controlled, warp-supplied guide bars. In 1807, another Nottingham frame-smith, S. Orgill, introduced the

Fig. 2.5 Warp knitted fabric on the moon [Photo credit NASA]. The photograph, taken during the Apollo 12 mission, shows the warp knitted antenna which transmitted the television pictures of the lunar landing back to Earth. The two-bar mesh fabric, weighing less than one ounce per square yard, was warp knitted from gold plated metallic yarn. [Knit O'wr

Fig. 2.5 Warp knitted fabric on the moon [Photo credit NASA]. The photograph, taken during the Apollo 12 mission, shows the warp knitted antenna which transmitted the television pictures of the lunar landing back to Earth. The two-bar mesh fabric, weighing less than one ounce per square yard, was warp knitted from gold plated metallic yarn. [Knit O'wr

rotary shaft driven knitting frame, having a width up to 72 inches (1.8 m) and cam-controlled knitting motions capable of knitting up to 30 rows (courses) of loops per minute.

The German warp knitting industry developed in Chemnitz and Apolda, after Reichel brought a British hand warp loom to Berlin in 1795.

During the Napoleonic wars, 500 hand warp looms were producing woollen uniform fabric for the British forces. However, the power-driven weaving loom was soon to out-produce the warp loom in plain fabric and, by the 1840s, the fancy lace market was lost to the patterning capabilities of the Leaver's lace machine.

The ingenuity of machine builders and warp knitters, and a combination of modern engineering technology and the advent of new yarns and finishing processes, have at last enabled warp knitting to realise the potential it first demonstrated in its early years of development (Fig. 2.5).

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