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18th January 2018, Chicopee, MA

Lamb Knitting Machine celebrates 150 years

Lamb Knitting Machine, a knitting machinery manufacturer based in Chicopee, MA, is celebrating 150 years of making knitting machines this month. “A reputation for manufacturing dependable machines, providing timely and effective service to the customer, staying in tune with the needs of the customer, have been the keys to Lamb’s success for 150 years,” the company reports.

“Lamb is only one of two companies that still manufactures knitting machines in the US, and is one of the few in the world that is focused on knitting machines to produce materials ranging in size from .050” diameter to 4-inches wide. The experience gained through the years in designing and manufacturing these types of machines and the dedication to producing a quality product has resulted in the world-wide reputation Lamb machines have for dependability.”

A .375” (9.5mm) diameter cylinder with 60 needles per inch that knits the ultra-fine weft knit materials used in various medical applications. © Lamb Knitting Machine


In 1867, the Lamb Knitting Machine Manufacturing Company was formed and began the production of flat V-Bed latch needle knitting machines in Chicopee, MA. The first machines of its type, Lamb machines were manufactured under a US Patent issued to Pastor Isaac W. Lamb. Lamb sold this new and versatile machine not only in the US but also in Europe. In 1893, the company merged with A.G. Spaulding and changed its name to Lamb Manufacturing Company.

In the 1870’s Lamb also manufactured the Tuttle Sock Knitter, a hand-cranked machine that was used in many homes to knit socks and caps. A limited number of the original Tuttle machines are still in use today by home knitters and hobbyists. To celebrate its anniversary, the company began manufacturing a limited number of the re-designed version of the Tuttle Sock Knitter – the Lamb LT150.

In 1931 and the company was reorganised as Lamb Knitting Machine Corporation, a private corporation, by four employees of the original Lamb company. Starting in 1931, Lamb focused its operation on manufacturing narrow fabric V-Bed knitting machines, used to produce trimmings for sweaters and other apparel items as well as the fingers on knitted gloves.


John W. Giokas purchased Lamb in 1956. From 1940 to 2002, he guided the company, incorporating semi-automatic machining into the manufacturing process and expanding the product line into small diameter circular weft and warp knitting machines. The circular machines were used to knit drawstrings, shoelaces and ropes.

An LT150 hand operated sock knitter. © Lamb Knitting Machine

The current owners, Andrew & William Giokas joined Lamb in the 1970’s. In addition to modernising the manufacturing process, they have developed the new Lamb knitting machines. Gini (Giokas) LaPalme and Amy (Giokas) Lonzcak are other family members who have joined Lamb and are instrumental to this organisation. Amy Lonzcak is the third generation to work at Lamb and, while involved in manufacturing, she now focuses in design and prototype knitting. Two other members of the Lamb team have been with the company for over 20 years.


Up to 1970, Lamb machines were primarily used to knit materials for the apparel and home furnishing industries using cotton, polyester and other man-made traditional yarns. Then, applications for small diameter circular knits were created that used wire, fiberglass and other new type of fibres. Lamb modified its machines so that these new fibres could be knit productively.   Products knit on Lamb machines can be found in automobiles, furnaces, household appliances and in other industrial products.

“In the past 10 years, new applications for small diameter circular knits have been created. Small diameter knits are now used not only in medical devices such as catheters but to knit items that are implanted into the body, such as stents and arterial grafts. These knits range in size from 1mm to 18mm and use cylinders with needle densities ranging from 30 to 65 needles per inch. Lamb has coupled its experience in manufacturing small diameter knitting machines and researching new manufacturing techniques to develop the machines required to knit these materials,” the company says.


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