1890's Creelman Brothers "Money Maker" Sock Knitting Machine (May 2016)
Founded in 1872, Creelman Brothers was originally a stationary company in Georgetown, Ontario established by Robert and Richard Creelman.  To offset the costs of the company, they also sold other goods, including knitting machines.  For the first few years, Creelman only sold machines made by other companies, but the brothers quickly discovered that the machines were quite popular and entered into a partnership with “Franz and Pope” to set up a factory and make Creelman Brothers’ machines in Georgetown. In 1881, work on the factory began.  Within five years though, the factory experienced severe damage from fire, and more significant damage from attempts to put out the blaze.  The new factory was built in nearby Ingersoll, Ontario, and there was much speculation that the town offered incentives in the form of cheaper loans, and bonuses to re-locate.  The loan was quickly paid off as their machines gained popularity and were sold throughout the world.
In 1890, the two brothers went their own way, with Robert Creelman moving to Collingwood to establish another stationary store, and Richard staying with the manufacturing company.  The company name remained Creelman Brothers and began producing typewriters that same year.        

1893 marked the start of the production of the “Money Maker” sock knitting machine.  Selling for $10, the machine was marketed to women for home use, specifically to offset their husband’s income.  The Money Maker was the cheapest of the line of sock knitting machines that Creelman Brothers produced, with the most expensive costing $26.  At this point, the average wage was only $9.42, so a home knitting machine was not a casual purchase.  Creelman Brothers did produce what was considered the best home machine, which also happened to be the most economical.  Within only a few years, the company had six family knitting machines on the market, ranging in price from twenty to sixty dollars.

By the 1920’s, factories that could produce multiple socks simultaneously began to make home knitting options less desirable.  It was hard to justify knitting a single sock at a time when the larger machines could make five at once.  In 1926, an ageing Richard, and his son put the company, then known as Creelman Limited, on the market.  Rather than sell the company whole, they sold the different parts of needle making and manufacturing of home and factory machines separately.

This particular machine was produced in the 1890’s and was donated to the Valley Museum and Archives with the original box, and multiple replacement needles.  The machine and all of the contents of the box will be on display until July 2nd.  If you know anything more about our Money Maker, please let us know or join the discussion on Facebook.