Old Knitting Machines

From time to time the Club is contacted about Domestic Knitting Machines which are no longer required. This may be for a variety of reasons including the owner being no longer able to use the machine, down-sizing accommodation or sadly having recently deceased. The Club does not generally undertake the selling of machines on behalf of third parties but in an attempt to help those in such situations we offer the following advice.

Knitting machines of the type typically produced for Domestic use since the 1950’s are extremely varied. Many hundreds of thousands are in existence and some brands, although not widely visible on the High Street in the way they were in the 1980’s and 1990’s, are still in production. The value of redundant machines is extremely variable according to its origin, capability, condition and completeness and the presence of any accompanying accessories and manuals.  

If you have items of this nature the first thing to do is to ascertain the Make and Model of the machine and to assess whether all parts are still with the machine. This can be easily done by checking items against the relevant pages in the machine manual.  Missing Manuals can often be downloaded, at no cost,  from the Internet.  The Manual will also tell you what types of knitting the machine should be capable of doing.  If you are in the sad position of disposing of items when the owner is no longer present then do attempt to assemble together any related items before you dispose or discard any of them.

Machines a few decades old may have seen much hard work or in fact had quite light use. The most important factor as regards condition will be how the machine has been kept, especially when out of use. Machines which have been left in areas subject to damp may have become rusty particularly on the needles and needle bed. Long term storage may also have caused the mechanisms to seize. They still may be recoverable but most likely much reduced in value and potential without a good deal of effort and expense.

There is interest and demand for knitting machines, related items and yarn. If you wish to sell the items, armed with the above information, you may find it useful to research online selling sites and second hand dealers to get some idea of value.  If you are interested in knowing the machine or items will go to help set up another generation of knitting design talent or even help take someone in the third world out of poverty the Club does now have contacts; locally at University level to help textile students obtain their own equipment and with the local representative of Workaid, an organisation which arranges refurbishment, provision and transport of tools for people in need abroad to enable them sustain themselves. 

Club members do not go out to review machines. But, if you need help in deciding what to do, feel free to contact us at:   It might be possible to review them by email or arrange bringing the machine or items to a club meeting for appraisal.  

Finally, if there is someone you know who might be interested in using the machine, if they had some help, the club is here for all levels of ability from the absolutely bewildered to those with many years of knitting behind them.  We love to pass on our skills.

Common brands

Brother Knitting Machines are no longer in production but used parts and accessories are often available.  The Guild of Machine Knitters has recently merged with the Knitting & Crochet Guild, and you may find some useful information on their website ( You can also try online sales sites such as EBay or Gumtree.

Older Knitmaster machines may be badged Empisal, later models may be badged Silver Reed.

New Knitting Machines

Silver Viscount are distributors throughout the UK and Europe of Silver Reed Knitting Machines, currently the only major domestic knitting machine manufacturer in the world today.


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