Knitwear Industry

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Knitwear Industry


a subsector of the textile industry. Enterprises of the knitwear industry produce knitted fabrics, hosiery items, underwear and outerwear, mittens and gloves, headwear, and scarves, as well as various articles for industry and medicine. A wide assortment of threads made from cotton, wool, and chemical fibers is used in the production of knitwear.

The production of knitwear developed in France, Great Britain, and Germany in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In prerevolutionary Russia the first cottage enterprises producing knitwear appeared in the late 19th century; in 1913 there were 22 such enterprises, producing 15 million pairs of stockings, 1.5 million articles of underwear, 250,000 outer garments, and 3 million kerchiefs. In 1928 the system of light industry in the USSR (excluding knitwear enterprises of local industry) produced hosiery and other knitwear at 70 enterprises, with a tqtál production of 67.7 million pairs of stockings, 6.9 million articles of underwear, and 1.4 million articles of outerwear. During the prewar five-year plans of 1929–40, the knitwear industry underwent substantial development. Major factories were built, including the Dzerzhin-skii Factory in Ivanteevka, Moscow Oblast, the KIM Factory in Vitebsk, the R. Luxemburg Factory in Kiev, the Aztrikotazh Factory in Baku, and a factory for the production of knitted hosiery in the Tushino district of Moscow. During the same period, knitwear enterprises were established in Novosibirsk, Tbilisi, and Kokand.

The organization of the production of knitting equipment in Moscow, Leningrad, Poltava, and elsewhere and the expansion of the industry’s raw material base were crucial to the development of the knitwear industry. Several spinning factories specialized in the production of yarn for the knitwear industry, and the available assortment of knitted goods was broadened by the production of man-made fibers.

The knitwear industry was heavily damaged during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45. Enterprises in the Ukraine, Byelorussia, the Baltic republics, and the western oblasts of the RSFSR, which had produced a significant share of the industry’s output in 1940, were dismantled. During the fourth five-year plan (1946–50), the enterprises were rebuilt and supplied with new

Table 1. Production of knitwear in the USSR, 1940-75
Underwear (million articles). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .127150472814953
Outerwear (million articles). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58.947.1112415464
Hosiery items (million pairs). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4894739641,3381,494

equipment, and the industry’s output soon surpassed the prewar level.

Because of the excellent use characteristics and economy of knitted fabrics, knitwear constitutes a steadily growing percentage of all clothing. The increasing production of chemical fibers, especially synthetic threads and textured yarns, and the rapid progress being made in production technology have contributed to the development of the knitwear industry. Development of the industry in the USSR is shown by the data in Table 1.

Table 2. Production of knitwear in selected socialist countries (million articles)
Bulgaria. . . . . . . . . . . . .10.139.329.158.7
Czechoslovakia. . . . . . . . . . . . .43.769.840.365.7
German Democratic Republic20.745.6137.0165.0
Hungary. . . . . . . . . . . . .14.530.926.464.0
Poland. . . . . . . . . . . . .53.1168.068.7172.0
Rumania. . . . . . . . . . . . .

New enterprises equipped with modern machinery and automated devices, with improved production engineering, have been built in the period 1950–75. They include spinning and knitwear combines in Kursk, Pinsk, Ogre, and Astrakhan; factories producing knitted fabrics in Velikie Luki and Gorlovka; factories producing knitted underwear in Smolensk, Orsk, Belovo, Muka-chevo, Rybnitsa, Andizhan, Dzhezkazgan, and Birobidzhan; and factories producing knitted hosiery in Brest, Karaganda, Cheremkhovo, and Lys’va. Industrial production of knitted goods is now established in all Union republics. In 1974 the knitwear industry comprised approximately 500 enterprises. The most important factor affecting the choice of location for enterprises is proximity to the consumer of the items produced.

The primary development trends in the technology and production engineering of the knitwear industry are as follows: the installation of automated production lines to produce fabrics and hosiery, the intensification of production processes by the installation of more productive equipment, the use of organic solvents in continuous fabric-finishing processes, and the further specialization of enterprises by production cycle and assortment of goods produced.

Table 3. Production of knitwear in selected capitalist countries (million articles)
Federal Republic of Germany. . . . . . . . . . . . .193.51,142287.4278.3
Great Britain91.244813045.2
Japan. . . . . . . . . . . . .212.21,320388.7498
USA. . . . . . . . . . . . .149.91,000175272

The knitwear industry is also highly developed in other socialist countries, such as Bulgaria, Hungary, the German Democratic Republic, Poland, Rumania, and Czechoslovakia (see Table 2).

The capitalist countries with the most highly developed knitwear industries are Great Britain, the USA, the Federal Republic of Germany, and Japan (see Table 3).


Liashchenko, P. I. Istoriia narodnogo khoziaistva SSSR, vol. 1, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1952.
Khromov, P. A. Ocherki ekonomiki tekstil’noi promyshlennosti. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946.
Korneev, A. M. Tekstil’naia promyshlennost’ SSSR iputi ee razvitua. Moscow, 1957.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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