Ummm, raising hand, that was me. They are "antique sock machines" or "circular sock machines". There are a few restorers out there who restore them (Pat Fly is near me, and very good -- www.angoravalley.com -- usually she has a waiting list, so it's best to contact her _before_ they are listed on her website).
I do (AD) have two of my machines for sale (one professionally restored, one restored by me) -- deciding to downsize, maybe thinking of an NZAK to "replace" those two. If you're interested, email me and I'll send you the details.
The other reply to your note listed the email groups, which are great (sockmachine, sockmachines, sockmachinefriends). There's also CSMSA (CSM society of america), www.csmsa.org which has a great newsletter (you can get just the newsletter and not join for $8/year) (NAJAHC), and googling "circular sock machine" turns up some other interesting websites from time to time too.
The kids just gave their teachers their Christmas socks, which were:
1) Louet Merino white fingering weight (I know, it'll wear out fast, but it's lovely!)
2) hand-space-dyed to be self patterning in watermelon colors (coral, white, aquagreen)
3) cranked on my 70-needle cylinder into two pairs of socks (1 pair per teacher!)
4) hand-colored in black seeds with a permanent black sharpie pen
5) washed to "set the knitting" and make sure they were clean
6) wrapped by the kids with hand-made Christmas cards attached -- DS made the cutest card with a cutout of an Arctic Fox and on the outside "Do you know what this Arctic Fox is thinking?" and Inside it said "Merry Christmas!" -- how cute is that?
Ok, enough of a list. Both teachers _raved_ about the socks (wow, they must be hand-knit starved, LOL) and the aid to the teacher in the room next to DD's room sent home a note wanting to hear more about these "sock machine thingies", LOL, talking to a 6 yo about how her mother made them must have been interesting. DD knows her stuff, but the aid probably is picturing something quite different from the reality. _And_ there was no school today, so she'll have to wait until after the holidays to get my reply -- inviting her over to play with them, of course!!
And I am thrilled because I just finished my mom's Christmas socks, from my own handspun, a bright orange called "Great Balls of Fire"! Very warm indeed.