The analysis of hosiery is complicated by the fact that the sizes specified in catalogs and advertisements have no relationship to the age of the child. We are no even sure that there were standard sizes among manufacturers. Some retailers provide customers corresponding shoe sizes. Others provide heighth information. This is further complicated because sizing standards have changed and are differnt from modern standards. Another complication is that there was a numbering system for smaller and larger children which appears to mean younger and older children. We have collected some of these size charts so that readers can assess the ages for which the stockings were made.
We are not sure what ages are indicated by hosiery sizes in the various catalogs. Sears in the 1930s provided a size chart. The one here was in a 1939-40 catalog (figure 1). The chart does not deal with age, but rather compares the hosiery sizes with shoe sizes. The the issue is further complicated with different sizes for little and larger children. I assume age was not a good indicator of sock size. Most moms knee shoe sizes as shoe stores had a handy measuring device. I surewe will be able to find an age comparison chart which will help give an idea of the age of the children wearing the different styles of hosiery. The sizing matches somewhat today's shoe sizes. Shoes for infants and toddlers (by age 5 most children have graduated to the larger size chart) go to about size 13 and then children and adult sizes start. I think the size chart looks pretty close to that.
There are a number of complications here. The most important is to what extent these sizes were set by companoes and thus varied and just when an overall national convention became established. Presumably industry organizations helped bring this about, but we do not yet hve details on this. Any thre may also hve been changes over time. factor here is that children ae now larger thn in former years.
A Canadian reader has provided some helpful information. He has scanned a sizing scale from the sticker on some vintage long stockings (table 3). The size chart provides a rough idea of the ages appropriate for the various sizes of stockings and shoes. He writes, "The sticker here ptrovides a stocking sizing chart. I found the stickings in Kansas. The sticker is labeled "Grammar School Stockings. This was a brand name. I'm not sure what company produced these stockings." Note the term grammar school here is an American term for primary school. Notice that the size/age chart is very similar, but not identical to table 2. They do , however, give a good rough estimate of the size/age relationship.
Hosiery sizes seem to have varied from country to couutry. We are not yet sure about the sizes and age comprisons in other countries, but ill load that information as we find it. And provide links here. We think the Canadioans may have used U.S. sizes, but still have to confirm this.
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