Testing the Rapidex 320
This Rapidex 320 was donated by Mrs Ann Proctor - a robust, but strangely enough, light machine made by a Swiss company with the 5 mm needle gauge and it was supplied complete with a set of very heavy weights, instruction manual and extra sets of cams for single bed work.. The tension mast is attached to the carriage.
The unusual thing about the Rapidex is that it was sold as single or double bed knitting machine and it it was also designed so you could to use it side by side as a very long single bed. The beds are fixed together with a couple of brackets - I managed to undo the beds very easily and push them side by side then I inserted a central needle to make one very long machine (320 stitches long) - great for making blankets and rugs, however, you need a strong arm to knit that width.
As a double bed, I managed to cast on and knit a bit of rib - it knits smoothly with a roller bearing lock or carriage and has a large metal handle to help out but it does require weights in a big way and these are cumbersome - would not like them to fall on my foot – yet another very unusual machine - a great addition to the museum and I am sure it was very innovative in its day.