York Knitting Mills: Four Thread Stockings (1903)

Figure 1.--This was an advertisement for York Mills "four thread stockings" in 1903. They were only offered in black which was the dominant color at the time for children's stockings.

We note an ad for "four-thread stockings" manufactured by the York Knitting Mills Co. This ad appeared in The Youth's Companion, one of the leading weeking periodicals in America at the time. The ad showed black long stockings, the most common color at the time.

York Knitting Mills

The stockings here were manufactured by the York Knitting Mills Co. The company's office was located on Main St., York, Pennsylvania. We know little about the company at this time.

The Youths' Companion

The ad appeared in The Youth's Companion, August 27, 1903, p. 401. The Youth's Companion" described itself as "An Illustrated Weekly Paper For Young People and the Family." It was established in 1827. The magazine was published in Boston, Massachusetts, by the Perry Mason Company, 201 Columbus Avenue. It appeared under this title until 1929. It was in the late 19th century one of the most popular weekly periodicals in America and known for the quality of the writing. The magazine catered to teen-age boys and girls especially, containing articles on sports, on hobbies, and on various literary and cultural interests. But it was really a family magazine and had many advertisements for clothing, both adult and children's. The magagazine had a very strict policy about the advertising carried because its readers were mostly children.

Stockings Offered

The advertisement here was for "four-thread stockings". Again the timing of the ad at the end of summer suggests outfitting boys and girls for school. At this point, I believe, black stockings only were the rule. Certainly the boy and girl in the photo are wearing black, and black is the only color offered for children. The ad copy read, "4-Thread Hosiery. YKM [York Knitting Mills] Trademark. The only 4-Thread lisle stockings that can be bought for 25 cents are stamped "Y.K.M.", as shown above, on the foot of every pair. Most 25-cent stockings are made or 1 or 2 threads. 4 threads are better than 2 threads, just as 4 cents are better than 2 cents. So low a price for so high quality is possible only because no middleman's profit stands between mills and dealer. Misses' amd Boys', single or double knees, fine or Derby rib, medium and heavy weights; sizes 6 to 10. Black only." [HBC note: Size 10 stockings would fit most older boys up to about 17 or 18.] Men's Half Hose, two weights--medium and heavy. colors black, tan, pearl, mahogany, Tourist and Cadet blue; sizes 9 to 11 1/2. All "Y.K.M" hosiery is knit from finest combed Egyptian lisle yarn and for looks and wear is unsurpassed. If your dealer won't supply you, we will. Sample pair 25 cts.; 6 pairs (one or assorted colors) $1.50, delivered free. Write for booklet, telling how it is possible for us to make so you can buy for 25 cents the finest 4-thread lislte stockings, that will wear double as long as the one or two thread kind."


Note that men's hose which were covered by trousers came in colors, but that children's stockings which showed were only in black. We are not entirely sure as to why this apparent fashion dichotomy existed. Also notice that the children here even though dressed in white wear black long stockings which draws attention to the stockings. We also note youngr boys and girls wearing white stockings in the 1900s, but black was the dominant color.

Long Stockings Colors in the 1900s

Black long stockings continued to be the dominant color worn by boys as well as girls. Most photographs show children in the 1910s wearing black long stockings. Manyb school photograps show most and often all of the children wearing black long stockings. A good example is the Newhall School in California. While black was the dominant color for long stockings, we do begin to notice the appearance of the lighter colors, especially tan, brown, and beige. This seems to be the decade where lighter and darker colors of long stockings became more of a popular choice. Black was still a very prominent color.


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Created: 5:21 PM 1/10/2005
Last updated: 5:21 PM 1/10/2005