History of Socks

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pair of blue socks hanging
Photo by Susanne Jutzeler on Pexels.com

The word sock comes from the Greek word sykhos, which meant a low, soft shoe. The word sock was later changed to soccus by the Romans, who adapted much of the ancient Greek concept. In the Anglo-Saxon era, the word was changed to soccus, which became the modern name for socks. Despite this change, the original purpose of the sock was to protect the feet, and to protect people from blisters and cuts.

The first pairs of socks date back to around 2nd century B.C., when the Romans wrapped animal hides or woven fabric around their feet. The first sock-wearing Egyptians wore was a crude form of udones, which were made of hand-knitted fabric. The earliest knitted socks date back to the third century AD, and they were found in an Egyptian tomb from the third to sixth centuries AD. After the Industrial Revolution, the process became cheaper and easier to produce. During this time, the production of socks expanded throughout Europe.

Socks were traditionally made from cotton until the polymer revolution. This process enabled manufacturers to produce knit fabrics more easily. However, Queen Elizabeth I did not grant William Lee a patent for his invention because she was horrified by the crudeness of the early versions of socks. Nonetheless, she eventually agreed to help Lee with financial backing, which led to the spread of the knitting loom throughout Europe. The Industrial Revolution also helped the development of sock manufacturing, which improved the cost of production and made them more widely available.

The history of socks dates back as far as human history can go. Some say the first sock was tied around the ankle by Stone Age people. Similarly, the word sock was first used by the Greek poet Hesiod in 8th century B.C.E., where it was derived from pilo, meaning “pig’s foot”. Then, in the second century A.D., the Romans began wearing their own version of sock, called udones.

In the 17th century, the first knitted socks were discovered in the tombs of the ancient Egyptians. Then, the Europeans began wearing leggings, which were functional and comfortable. But as the millennium approached, the sock became a symbol of nobility. By this time, it was considered a sign of wealth. This is why the sock became a symbol of wealth in the 18th century.

As the world began to industrialise, the need for socks was not so great. While they were made of animal skins, they were very expensive. As time passed, they were made using cotton and silk. In the 19th century, a knitting machine was invented and made the creation of custom-made socks more affordable. In the twentieth century, the popularity of custom-made socks continued to increase. Then, it was not uncommon for the poor to wear footwraps, which were simple, inexpensive cloths that wrapped the foot.

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