Straightening Silk Fibers, South Manchester, Conn.

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
A great deal of raw silk we get does not come to us in skeins. It comes in bales made up of cocoons, the threads of which have been broken, and of loose threads. The cocoons have to be boiled in soapy water to do away with the gum that holds the tiny threads together. They are then dried in drums which are curiously made. The inner portion of these drums is full of holes. As the drums turn rapidly the water is thrown out through the tiny screens. In this way the silk fiber is freed from water. These washed cocoons pass then to the dressing mill where they are ripped open by rollers set full of sharp needles. The silk fibers are thus pulled apart in great sheets called laps. The laps are then run through a picking machine. This machine draws the threads out still more and cuts the laps into short lengths. Then follows more cleaning and drawing, until the laps are put together into longer laps from 7 to 9 feet in length. These are then ready for spinning. It is a series of picking or drawing machines that you see here. The machines are arranged in rows, or batteries as they are called. Each machine has a number of plates of needles, which act as combs. The fibers come from the combs straightened. They then wrap about the drums to the right. From these they are removed and rolled in small laps. The laps of silk can be seen on the little tables by which the women are standing. You will note that the whole room is filled with machines, all of which are busy with the process of "first drawing" the silk. The building appears to extend to an endless distance. You will be interested to know that this is the largest silk factory in the world. Keystone ID: 20312 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.