The Lindner Sock story began in Thalheim, near Chemnitz, Germany. The hosiery industry had been a major part of the town’s growth and economy from as early as 1730, and it was here that Max Lindner, with his wife Meta, founded the “H. Max Lindner Strumpf Fabrik” in 1921.
The business grew over the years, and Max’s son Alfred later joined him in the enterprise, beginning a family tradition that continues to this day.
The Soviet occupation of the region in the years following the Second World War prompted Alfred to send his pregnant wife, Elly, and his two young sons, Gottfried and Reinhard, to her mother in the USA. Their third son, Wilfred Lindner, was born in 1947 in Northhampton, Massachusetts.
In 1951 Elly brought her boys back to Germany, and after a short time living in Nürnberg, the family was re-united with Alfred, and moved to the town of Neumarkt in Bavaria. It was here that Alfred began the process of re-building his business producing socks with two machines in the cellar of their home.
Gottfried, the eldest of the sons, began working in the business in 1955, and in 1965 Wilfred undertook an apprenticeship in tool-making through the company.
From 1965, Alfred, Elly, and all three of their sons were working in the business together, until 1967 when Gottfried left to live and work in Switzerland with his family.
It was about this time that a new factory was being built with a home attached on the outskirts of Neumarkt. When it was completed Alfred, Elly, Reinhard and Wilfred all moved in and continued to grow the family business.
By 1970, the Lindner Strumpffabrik had grown significantly, and began making socks under contract for the sportswear company, Adidas. In 1974, the West German football team won the FIFA World Cup wearing Adidas socks manufactured in Neumarkt by the Lindner Strumpffabrik.
Alfred Lindner died in 1975. Reinhard and Wilfred carried on together in the business.
By 1978, Wilfred had moved into a new home he had built not far from the factory. In that year he also met Gisela. The pair was married in 1979, and welcomed their first son, Andreas, in 1981, soon followed by their second son, Matthias, in 1982.
Following the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, with concerns for the health and safety of his young family, Wilfred decided to split the business with his brother, Reinhard, and to set up home and start production with his half of the machines in Australia.
It was in 1987 that Lindner Quality Socks Pty Ltd started up in Australia in a small factory in Goulburn, NSW. Lindner Socks quickly became popular amongst the locals. Tradesmen working through the cold Goulburn winters nicknamed the Thick Full-Cushioned Wool Socks “Concrete Socks”, as they found they could stand comfortably all day on the cold, hard concrete when they were wearing their Lindner Socks.
While also selling socks directly from the factory and through markets, Wilfred and Gisela slowly built up a customer base of retail stockists, particularly in rural areas of Australia, many of whom continue to stock a selection of our socks today. The Lindner brand became known to wider and wider circles for wonderful comfort and durability.
In 1997, the family moved to a new home in Crookwell, about 50km to the north-west of Goulburn, bringing the machines to a new factory and shopfront on the main street of the town. In this new location, Wilfred and Gisela and their boys have continued to work hard to meet the needs of their customers.
The Crookwell town and community welcomed the family and embraced the “Sock Shop” affectionately. Many of the locals now proudly wear their Lindner Socks, and over the years the shop and factory have become one of the town’s attractions for tourists and visitors, some of whom specifically travel to Crookwell to stock up on socks.
The most recent major shift in the Lindner Socks story is the recent retirement of Wilfred Lindner. After many years of sock-knitting, Wilfred handed over the reins to Gisela and to their son, Andrew (Andreas), in January 2008, so he could finally put his feet up for a well-earned rest.
With Gisela in charge of the orders and the sewing room, and Andrew taking care of the sock machines, the Lindner sock-making tradition continues under their joint management into its 90th year.