Fact and fiction envelopes the invention of the latch needle in a similar manner to that of the bearded needle. Pierre Jeandeau patented the first latch needle (also known as the tumbler needle) in 1806 but there is no evidence of its practical use.There is also no evidence that the pivoting of a broken pocket knife blade led to the development of the latch spoon.
The latch needle has nine main features (Fig. A):
1 The hook, which draws and retains the new loop.
2 The slot or saw cut, which receives the latch-blade (not illustrated).
3 The cheeks or slot walls, which are either punched or riveted to fulcrum the latch blade (not illustrated).
4 The rivet, which may be plain or threaded.This has been dispensed with on most plate metal needles, by pinching in the slot walls to retain the latch blade.
5 The latch-blade, which locates the latch in the needle.
6 The latch spoon, which is an extension of the blade, and bridges the gap between the hook and the stem covering the hook when closed, as shown in broken lines.
7 The stem, which carries the loop in the clearing or rest position.
8 The butt, which enables the needle to be reciprocated when contacted by cam profiles on either side of it, forming a track. Double-ended purl type needles have a hook at each end; whilst one hook knits, the inactive hook is controlled as a butt by a cam-reciprocated element called a slider.
9 The tail, which is an extension below the butt, giving additional support to the needle and keeping the needle in its trick.
|Fig.A. Main features of the latch needle.|