German Long Stockings: Material--Wool

Figure 1.--This boy was photographed during 1962 in a Vogelsberg Mointain village. Sheep rearing was common here and the families used the wool for evering thing--including long stockings. At the time cotton had repalced wool and lock stockings had been generally replaced with tights in much of Germany. Nowadays in the Vogelsbergs near Fulda the situation and atmoshere has changed completely.

Wool long stockings are of course the warmest type. They no doubt kept boys warm on the coldest days, especially as during the early 20th century German boys often wore kneepants and short pants even in the Fall and sometimes the Winter. Wool is not, however, the most comfortable fabric to wear next to the skin. Thus wool long stockings could be uncomfortable inside the home or when the weather outside warmed up. Long stockings before World War I were commonly wool and not infrequently knitted by mothers and grandmothers. It is usually possible to tell from a photograph if long stockings were cotton or wool. The wool long stockings are generally much bulkier than the cotton ones. There were areas of Germany where sheep rearing was important and here wool continued to be used for stockings even after cotton had become more common in the rest of Germany. Cotton long stockings were generally made in darker colors. A German reader writes, "Children wore long stockings made of both wool and cotton. The wool stockings scratched and were uncomfortable, but the cotton stockings were much more pleasant to wear. Boys who had to wear handknitted woolen stockings on their thighs never forgot the unpleasant scratching they had to endure. Machine-knitted woolen stockings were more comfortable because of their smoothness. Girls seem to have worn these professionally knitted stockings, because I have never heard them complain of having to endure scratched thighs."


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Created: August 9, 2002
Last updated: 5:27 AM 5/9/2007