For women the term Hose referred to their stockings. The world’s first knitting machine was invented in 1589 by William Lee, and was for making stockings. Successive inventors made improved versions of this knitting machine over the centuries. In 1864 William Cotton patented the machine which was able to automatically drop and add stitches, which enabled the knitted fabric to be shaped and tailored to fit the leg. Stockings were held up either by suspenders attached to a corset – later replaced with a belt or girdle – or by a pair of elasticated garters. The finishing stich or keyhole at the top back of the stocking is also a result of the finishing process, and is created because the seaming machinist has to finish the seam by turning the stocking top or the welt inside out

The next revolution in the hosiery industry came with Du Pont’s introduction of nylon at the World’s Fair in New York in 1939. Nylon was a revelation – just as sheer and glossy as silk and rayon but much harder wearing and with the sensitivity to getting wet. The first nylon stockings appeared in New York stores on May 15, 1940, and over 72,000 pairs were sold in the first day alone. Another innovation of the 1950s was a new kind of knit, Micro-Mesh. Until 1945 all stockings were made with a plain flat knit, a smooth stitch that is silky and soft to the touch, with a delicate shine

The word Stock used to refer to the bottom stump part of the body, and by analogy the word was used to refer to the one-piece covering of the lower trunk and limbs of the 15th century. At the end of the 16th Century and into the 17th century the term was also used to refer to boot-hose

wikipedia, various

youthy & legs together – 1518&projects 2014