History of stockings

As you can read in the many other blogs of STOX, compression stockings provide good support to the legs to prevent and reduce many complaints. But how did these stockings actually come about?

Back in time…

Similar primitive support stockings date back to the Roman and ancient Egyptian civilizations. After these not so sophisticated attempts to develop compression stockings, a long period of hand-knitted compression stockings followed, which were very popular during the Middle Ages.

First mechanical knitting machine

In 1589, an English preacher, William Lee, invented the first mechanical knitting machine. Reigning Queen Elizabeth I refused to grant Lee a patent for his knitting machine, considering it a threat to all hand knitters. For the first time it was possible to knit better shaped and better fitting support stockings. After this first breakthrough, stocking production continued into the 20th century with just a few changes.

Circular knitting technology

Previous attempts to produce elastic stockings have been preceded by innovations such as the development of elastic rubber fibers. This was based on the invention of vulcanized rubber by the American Charles Goodyear in 1839. Another milestone was the invention of the circular knitting technology by the British engineer Marc Isambard Brunel.

Innovative knitting machine

Before the introduction of automatic knitting machines in 1889, another British inventor, William Cotton, presented in 1864 an advanced knitting machine capable of manufacturing heel and toe pieces from stockings.


One of the most important breakthroughs in accelerating the production of modern compression stockings was the invention of the synthetic fiber Spandex, which was patented by DuPont in 1959, also known under the popular trade names Elastane or Lycra. This synthetic fiber became famous for its great elasticity and strength over natural rubber, as well as superior resistance to cream ingredients and destructive UV sunlight. It eventually replaced the natural rubber fibers in the manufacture of compression and support stockings, providing consumers with much more durable supportive garments and an ever-increasing range of stylish support stockings at Stoxenergy.com!

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