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Inventor William Lee
William Lee
Died1614 | Age 51

William Lee 1589

William Lee invented the first stocking frame knitting machine in 1589. His machine took the traditional heavy hosiery to fine silk stockings that became popular with ladies.

The process of creating leg hosiery involved taking a piece of cloth this was cut to the shape of a leg and the edges sewn together to create a stocking. Hand knitting stockings to produce a finer garment had become a cottage industry.
Fully Fashioned Stockings
Fully Fashioned Stockings
Lee's first machine was refused a patent by Queen Elizabeth I as it was not superior to the hand made stockings and she wanted to protect the people making a living from hand knitting.
Knitting Machine
Knitting Machine
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The emblem of Rule Britannia
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