Cable knit knee socks are knee-lenhth socks with a cable pattern woven into the fabric. I am not sure when the designed first appeared. Nor do I know who the manufactuer was or the inspiration of the cable design. I have noticed cable knits since the since the 1950s.
Figure 1.--Notice the cable knit pattern on the kneesocks worn by these young American boys.
Cable knits appear to have been primarily an American style. I have not seen it in Britain nor I have I noticed it on the Contonent.
Cable knit kneesocks are primarily an American style. They are mostly associated with girls wear in the United States. Younger boys also wore them, but they were mostly worn by girls. Until the 1980s both elementary and secondary school girls
wore cable knits, but in recent years they have mostly been worn by elementary-age children. They were for years standard school wear for American girls.
Mothers not understanding the difference between proper boys'
knee socks and cable knits might cable knit knee socks for younger boys. As older boys did not normally wear kneesocks with shorts, often the cable knits were the only style of kneesocks readilly available, except at better department stores. Manufactures usually marketed them in children's not girls' styles. As a camp counsellor in the early 1960s I remember one 11-year old boy coming to camp in shorts amd green cable knit knee socks, but this was unusual. His mother just assumed that boys at camp wore short pants and kneesocks, rather like Boy Scouts. He was the only boy who wore kneesocks with his shorts.
There were several stylistic features of cable knit kneesocks. First, they came in many colors. Grey was fine for boys. But girls needed a variety of colors to mix and match with their variously colored outfits. Second, the top of the sock came just to the knee. There was no extra material for a turn-over-top cuff.
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