Bettersox Knitting Mills

Date in History: 1908

In 1908 Arthur Hoard founded the Bettersox Knitting Mills in Fort Atkinson, which for more than 50 years was the nation’s largest mail-order hosiery mill. It was located on South Water Street East where the Super 8 Motel now sits. Originally specializing in knitting men’s socks for sale in Wisconsin, Bettersox soon branched out into the mail order business, targeting doctors in particular by mailing one sock to a customer, and advising him that if he would order a dozen pairs, the mate would be included thus giving him 13 pairs for the price of 12.

This worked well until a man’s sample was sent to Dr. T. Bannan of Syracuse, New York. It turned out the T stood for Theresa. The female doctor penned a witty poem protesting the sock’s poor fit, ending “For you must know, Sir Bettersox, there are two different kinds of docs.” Shortly thereafter the firm began manufacturing seamless women’s hosiery as well.

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 07/28/2003.

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