Francis Lieber.

Library of universal knowledge. A reprint of the last (1880) Edinburgh and London edition of Chambers' encyclopaedia, with copious additions by American editors (Volume 13) online

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eggs halch readily at the proper time by the natural heat: but in southern Europe artifi-
cial heat is almost always required; formerly the heat of fermenting dung was found
serviceable, and the warmth of the human body was also used, the eggs being carried in
little bags in the bosom of the cultivators; but now they are regularly hatched by itove-
lieat, beginning with a temperature of 64 Fahr., which is gradually increased through ten
days to 8:3, at which it is maintained until Ihe eggs are 1 : t -bed. Experience has shown
that the operation is facilitated by washing the eggs in tl e first place \\ith clean water;
and some cultivators also was'.i them in wine, the value < f vhich is very questionable.
Washing is found to remove a certain gumminess and other impurities from the eggs,
which would otherwise impede the hatching. When the silk-worms have been regularly
developed as above described, it is usual to place above the trays various little contri-
vances for the caterpillar to spin wit'>'r /many of the Italian growers employ an ingeniously
simple arrangement, which lasts m; ! \} seasons, and when not in use occupies very small
space. It consists of a number of thin slips of wood, about an inch and a half broad,
and all cut sufficiently long to reacli across the trays. They are each cut at intervals of
an inch half through, so that one will fit into another, and when complete they all form
a series of cells, which, set in a tray, form the very best receptacles for the silk-worm to
spin in. When not in use, the whole arrangement can be compressed into very small
compass for convenience of storage. Others use little cones of paper, or small twigs,
among which the cocoons arc spun.

to feeding the worms, care is taken so to distribute the food on the shelves or in the
trays that the insects shall not crowd together; and for this reason the most careful
cultivators chop the leaves small, and strew them very evenly about. Great care is
taken not to let the worms of one hatch mix with those of another, unless of exactly the



same age, otherwise the stronger insects would deprive the younger of their food.
Many other niceties of attention are required, which altogether render the successful
rearing of silk-worms a matter of much anxiety and labor.

Preparation of Silk. When the cocoons are completed, which is known by the
absence of any sound within, they are carefully sorted, and a certain number are kept
for laying. The sexes are readily known by the difference of .shape as well as of size,
the female being plumper, and the male, besides being much smaller, having a central
depression and sharper extremities. The French growers sort them into nine varieties,
those which are less compact, or in which the worm has died a fact known by external
indications being separated from the good ones. When the sorting is finished, the
cocoons are placed in an oven with a gentle heat, which kills the inclosed chrysalis,
otherwise they would all become perforated by the insect eating through; they are then
prepared for winding by first removing the flossy covering, which is often somewhat
hard and compact. The cocoons are placed in basins of water, kept warm by charcoal
fires, or, in the larger establishments, by steam. This softens and dissolves the natural
gum which coats the silk, and makes the various coils of silk adhere together in the
cocoon. The operator then takes a small branchy twig, and stirs them about in the
water. This is sure to catch hold of any liberated ends which may be floating in the
water. From three to five of these ends are taken and twisted together with the fingers,
so as to unite them into one thread, which is passed through a polished metal or glass
eye in the reeling-machine, which is so far frooi the hot-water basin as to give the
softened gum on the silk time to dry in its passage from the basin to the reel. In large
filatures or silk establishments, complex machinery is used for winding; but reeling
apparatus of the greatest simplicity is used by the Chinese, East Indians, and others
with almost equal effect, when carefully done, except in the amount of work accom-
plished. In all cases, however, the principle is the same, and is very simple. Great
care and skill are required in reeling silk from the cocoons, because, although the recler
starts wi.h four or five cocoons, not only are their individual threads apt to break, but
they are not ail of the same length, so that one will run out before the others. These
matters are carefully watched; and as ofton as a thread breaks, or a cocoon rims out,
another thread is joined on, and is made to adhere to the compound thread on the reel
by its natural gumminess. Each cocoon generally yields 300 yards of thread, so that it
tsdies 1200 or 1500 yards to make 300 yards of the filament of raw silk, by which name
the reeled silk is always known. The raw silk is made up into hanks of various sizes.
That from China and Japan is tied in packages of six hanks each, technically called
books, and sometimes the ends of these books are covered with silken caps very curiously
formed out of a single cocoon, so managed as to form a filmy cap sufficiently large to
cover a man's head. The method used by the Chinese to accomplish this is quito
unknown in Europe. These caps or bags, when closed, are sometimes nearly a foot
square, and much of the wadding used by the Chinese dressmakers for padding is made
by placing these bags upon each other to the required thickness.

Notwithstanding the care taken in reeling the -silk from the cocoons, and forming
several threads into one, it is not ready for the weaver, but has to undergo the processes
called collectively throwing. In this country, this is a special trade, the silk throwster
usually conducting it in large mills with extensive machinery, where the above processes
are all carried on, generally by steam-power. The silk reaches the throwster in hanks
as imported. These are put into clean soap and water, and carefully washed, ties having
been placed at intervals, to prevent the silk entangling. After being dried by hanging
in the drying-room, they are placed on large skeleton reels called swifts, so adjusted 'that
they will hold the hanks tightly. In a swift, the spokes are in pairs. The v are m-ide of
thin pieces of lancewood, and each pair are rather nearer together at the ax'le than at the
circumference, where they are connected together by a small band of cord. These bands
are so tied that they will slip down easily to admit of the hanks being placed; then, by
pushing the cords upward, the hank can be stretched to its fullest extent. This is neces-
sary to compensate for the varying lengths of the hanks received from different countries.

Whim the nwiftit are set in motion, the silk is carried from the hanks to bobbins, upon
which it is wound for the convenience of further operations. The bobbins are then
taken from the winding to the cleaning machine, when they are placed on fixed spindles,
so that they will turn with the slightest pull; and ,lhe thread is passed through a small
apparatus attached to the machine, which is gj / illy called the cleaner, and consists
essentially of two polished smooth-edged blades of 'metal, attached to a part of the frame
of i he machine. They are held together by a screw, and are slightly opened or closed
by anotlur screw, so that the thread can be put between them down to a small orifice,
and then, by lightening the screw, preventing its return, after passing through this small
hole, which is the gauge of the thread, and which removes any irregularities or adherent
dirt. The silk next passes over a glass or metal rod, and then through another small
hoi", much larger than that of the cleaner, and usually made of glass, "on to the bobbin,
upon which it is wound by the action of the machine. The next process is twixting the
cleaned thread, by which it becomes better adapted for being combined With other
threads. Doubling is the next process, and this consists in running off a number of bob-
bins of tutted silk on to one bobbin of a larger size, which is put into the iliroving-
machinc, when the ends of the doubted silk arc passed through a smooth hole on to a



large reel, which rewinds it into hanks, but twisting the threads into a fine cord as it
goes from the bobbins to the reel. This operation of throwing derives its name from the
baxou thrawan, to whirl or twist. After this the hanks have to be again wound on reels
and bobbins for the weaver, the former for the warp, and the latter for the weft. For
many purposes, only some of these operations are required. Thus for common and light
fabrics, such as Persian gauze, etc.. only the two tirst are needed viz., the winding and
cuaniny, and the material is called aunib-ttingleis. If it has been wound, cleaned, and
thrown, it is called thi\>irn-><iit<jU.#, and is used for weaving common broad stuffs, or
plain siiks and ribbons. If wound, cleaned, doubled, and thrown, it is called train, and is
used for the richest silks and velvets, but only for the weft or shoot; and if wound,
cleaned, span, doubled, and thrown, it is called oryanzine, and is used for the warps of tine

Before winding the cocoons, a flossy portion has to be removed ; and after all has been
wound off, another portion remains, like a compact bag; these are collected and sold
under the name of waxte-sdk, and to these are added the fragments of broken threads,
which accumulate in considerable quantities during the reeling and throwing operations.
Formerly, very little use was made of waste-silk ; not a little of it was employed by engi-
neers and others for mere cleaning purposes; although as early as 1671, a proposition
was mude by a manufacturer named Edmoncl Blood to make it available by carding it
with teasels or rowing-cards. He took out a patent for tnis invention, but apparently
did not bring it into use. Another patent was taken out by Mr. Lister of Bradford,
which has dune wonders; now the waste is all spun into yarn, thereby greatly economiz-
ing the U3-J of silk, as the quantity of silk-waste always greatly exceeds the amount of
good silk iceled off. The processes employed in the production of silk-yarn from the
waste cliff c i little from those for spinning other materials. See (SPINNING.

The silk manufactures of Britain are chielly located in Spitaltields, London, at Mac-
cleslield and Conglctoii in Cheshire, at Derby, and in Glasgow. The dyeing of silk is
done chieliy i.'i tne neighborhood of London, at Nottingham, and at Manchester; and
considerable qaantities of silk goods are sent from India to be printed with patterns in
London and other parts of England. These goods are chiefly the corah and bandana
pocket-handkerchiefs, and Indian waist and turban scarfs.

SILK (Sn.K AKO SILK- WORM. ante). There would certainly appear to have been no
lack of encouragement of the silk industry in the early days of American colonial his-
tory. James I. was enthusiatic on this subject (see MANUFACTURES), and the colonists
themselves devoted much time and labor to the growth of the mulberry tree, and the
culture of silk-worms. In 1732 the colonial government of Georgia, allotted a piece of
ground for use as a nursery plantation for white mulberry trees. Lands were granted to
tettlers on condition that they planted 100 of these trees on every 10 acres when cleared,
10 years being allowed for their cultivation. In 1749 the British parliament passed an
ACt exempting from duty all raw silk which was certified to be the production of Georgia
or Carolina, "in the same year an Italian expert Avas sent to Georgia to establish a fila-
ture fnr reeling, doubling, cleaning, and twisting, or throwing, silk and in 1759 the
export of raw silk to England from Georgia alone exceeded 10,000 pounds, and the qual-
ity of it was so good that it sf>ld in London at from two to three shillings a pound
more than that from any other part of the world. After 1759, however, the production
of silk in Georgia fell off greatly, though a French settlement at New Bordeaux, on the
Savannah river, manufactured considerable quantities of sewing-silk during the revolu-
tion. Mansfield, Conn., became, in the latter part of the 18th c. an important silk-
raising section; and this continued to be a fixed industry in that locality, though but
little was done in it elsewhere in New England. Pennsylvania engaged in the culture
about 1767. and a filature was established in Philadelphia in 1769 or '70, and in 1771
2,300 pounds of cocoons were brought there to reel. This state maintained some prom-
inence in the industry up to the time of the revolution, but it then died out and was not
notably revived. From the period of the close of the revolution up to about 1825 the
silk manufacture in the United States was purely domestic, families making small quan-
tities hardly ever reaching 100 pounds per annum in a single family. The importa-
tion of silk goods in the mean time had increased enormously, so that in 1821 it amounted
to $4,486.924. It was felt that this costly importation should be stayed, if possible, and
(several congressional committees investigated the subject, and voluminous reports were
made upon it. This brought about the enthusiastic culture of the morns multicftulis,
which grew into a mania (see MANUFACTURES), during whose existence hundreds of
speculators and thousands of private buyers were ruined. The result of this speculative
incident, the financial depression of 1837, and the fact that in 1844 a blight affected all
the mulberry trees in the country all these causes combined were disastrous to silk cul-
ture in the United States, and the effort to rear silk-worms ceased, not to be revived
again, except in California; where, since 1860, the business has been successfully prose-
cuted. The first silk-mill erected on the western continent was set up at Mansfield,
Conn., in 1810. The manufacture was introduced into Philadelphia about 1815; and
as early as 1824 the Jacquard loom began to be used there. Power-looms were next
introduced, and power-loom weaving was begun about 1838, simultaneously with its
adoption in Switzerland. In 1829 there was a manufactory for silk ribbons from


American silks started in Baltimore, but it was short-lived. The business progressed
at Mansfield, which soon became a silk-manufaciuriug center. From 1831 to '89, a
large number of factories were started at Windsor Locks, Conn. ; Poughkeepsie, IS. V. ;
in Philadelphia, and elsewhere, the most of which failed. Burlington, N. J., became
an important silk-producing locality, beginning about 1838; and included the culture of
the mulberry tree and growth of silk-worms, as well as the manufacture of silk. Hart-
ford and Manchester, Conn., Holyoke and Northampton, Mass., and Havdenville, the
scene of the Mill river disaster in 1874 (bursting of a reservoir containing 6,000,000 tons
of water), are among the New England towns in which silk has been manufactured exten-
sively. But the most important center of this industry in America is Paterson, N. J.
(q.v.), where the water-power of thePassaic river, facilities for transportation, etc., seemed
to offer the best possible conditions for its prosecution. The first silk-mill in Paterson
was set up about 1838, in the fourth floor of Samuel Colt's pistol factory. This was fol-
lowed by the establishment of other factories; until, in 1875, the business had grown t6
be an enormous and constantly progressing industry. In that year there were engaged
in the silk manufacture in Patersou 32 n'rins and corporations, with 5 dye-houses; a force
of 8,000 operatives, two-thirds of whom were females; 74,323 throwing-spindles; 730
power-looms; 563 hand-looms; and 23,445 braiding-spindles. The amount of capital
invested in mills, machinery, and manufacturing was $5,926,804; the amount of wages
paid during the year, $2,664,993; the number of pounds of silk dyed. 550,000. The im-
portation of raw silk to supply American manufacturers was as follows in the * years
named :

1870 583,589 Ibs.

1871 .1,100,281

1872 1,063,809

1873 1,159,420

1874 794,837

1875 1,101,681

1876 1,354,991

1877 '. 1,186,170

1878 1,182,750

1879 1 , 889, 776

A general view of the silk industry in America for the year 1875 shows the following
statistics :

No. of firms and manufacturing corporations 213

No. of operatives employed, males 4,743

No. of " " females 8,739 1S.017

Capital invested $17,913.858

Wages paid $ 6,892,256

Total value of production $27,158,071

Machinery: Horse-power 2,221

Throwing-spindles 192.203

Power-looms 2,688

Hand-looms 1.814

Braiding-spindles 45,618

Chenille spindles 196

Cord-spinning wheels 322

Lace machines , 50

SILK-COTTON. Under this name, various silky fibers are from time to time brought
from tropical countries in Europe; they are all of the same general character, and are

Eroduced by the trees composing the genus bombax and other genera recently separated
rom b'm^ax, of the natural order sterculwcere, known as silk-cotton trees. , These trees
are natives of the tropical parts of Asia, Africa, and America. The fiber fills their large
woody capsules, enveloping the seeds, and is produced in great abundance, but is too
short, too smooth, and too elastic to be spun by the machinery used for cotton; although
attempts have been successfully made on a small scale in India to spin and weave it; and
that of bombax villosum, which is of a beautiful purple color, is woven into cloth and
made into articles of dress in new Spain. Silk-cotton is much used for stuffing pillows,
mattresses, and sofas. Sir James Emerson Tcnnent says it "makes the most luxurious
stuffing" for them. It has the fault, however, of being easily broken and reduced to
powder, but might probably be very useful in the manufacture of gun cotton and col-
lodion. The silk-cotton of the East Indies is imported into Britain under the name of
moc-main. bombnx cciba, the common silk-cotton tree of the West Indies and South
America, attains a very great size, its trunk sometimes being so thick that it could not
be encompassed by the outstretched arms of sixteen men, and canoes are hollowed out
of it of an average burden of 25 tons. The wood is soft and spongy, but is used ior
many purposes, and when cut into planks, and saturated with lime-water, if bears
exposure to the weather for many years. Bombax malabaricum, or salmalia maktiarica,

* Years ending June 30.

KAO Silk.


is the common silk-cotton tre<r of the East Indies. It is a tall tree, covered with for-
midable thorns. Although it is a tropical tree, its leaves full annually; and just before
the fresli leaves appear, it is covered with crimson tulip-like flowers, so abundant that,
"when they fall, the ground for many rods on all sides is a carpet of scarlet."

The fiber of the capsules of chorinia, speci^na and V. Pecholiana, trees nearly allied
to the genus boiivias, and natives of Brazil, is known as VEGETABLE SILK. It has a
beautiful satiny luster, and is very light, but uo mode of spinning and weaving it has
yet been invented.

SILK SPIDER, Ncpltiln plumipes (Koch), a species of spider discovered by prof. Burt
G. Wilder on the sea islands of South Carolina in 1365. It produces two kinds of silk,
yellow and white, having a continuous length of ueaily two miles.


SILK-WORM GUT, a material used by anglers for dressing the hook-end of the fishing-
line. It is prepared from the silk-worm at the period when it is just about to spin, and
the sericU-ria or silk vessels are distended with the secretion, The worms are immersed
for 12 or 14 hours in strong vinegar, and then taken separately, and pulled in two very
gently. The skilled operator knows at sight if the soaking in vinegar lias been sufficient,
and if so, he lays hold of one end of the viscid secretion, which is seen in the silk glands,
and attaches it"to the edge of a board; the other end he stretches to the other edge of
the board, and attaches it with a pin. When a number are drawn across the board, it
is set in the sun for the threads to dry, whea they are tied into bundles f-ir use. They
are chiefly produced in Italy and Spain.

SILL, the horizontal wood or stone base along the bottom of a window or door; also
the wooden plate along the bottom of a partition.

SILLIMAN, BENJAMIN, American physicist, was b. at North Strafford (now Trum
bull). Conn., United States, Aug. 8, 1779. His father was a distinguished la \vyer. and a
brig. gen. in the war of independence. He was educated at Yale college, New Haven, in
which he was appointed a tutor in 1799, and was admitted to the bar in 1803, bat soon,
after received from the college the appointment of professor of chemistry; which he
accepted only on condition of visiting some of the seats of learning in Europe, to observe
the progress of the science. His tour in Europe, 1805-6, was one of the first of which an
account was published in the United Slates. Uniting mineralogy and geology to chem-
istry, he made a geological survey of Connecticut, observed the fall of a meteorite; con-
structed, with the aid of prof. Hare, a compound blow-pipe, and repeated the experi-
ments of sir Humphry Davy. In 1822 he first established the fact of the transfer of
particles of carbon from the positive to the negative electrode of the voltaic apparatus.
In 1818 he founded the American Journal of Sciences and Arts, batter known as Silli-
vuiit's Journal, of which he was for 20 years the sole, and for 8 more the principal
editor. Besides his labors as professor and editor, he began in America the since widely
extended work of popular scientific education, by giving public lectures on his favorite
sciences in all the chief cities. In 1830 he published a text-book on chemistry, and soon
afterward edited an edition of BukcwelCs Geology. An account of his last visit to Europe
was published in 1851, and reached 6 editions. His last course of lectures was given in
1855, when his son, BENJAMIN SILLIMAN, Jr., who had been his associate, became his
successor. He died in Nov., 1864.

SILLIMAN, BENJAMIN, JR., b. Conn., 1816; graduated at Yale collesrc, 1S37, where
he was an instructor in chemistry, mineralogy, and geology, 1838-46; professor of applied
chemistry, 1846; one of the beginners of the Yale scientific school, 1847; professor of
medical chemistry and toxicology, university of Louisville, Ky.. 1849-54; and of chem-
istry, as successor to his father, 'at Yale college from 1854 to the present time; state
chemist of Connecticut, 1809; associate editor of Silliman's Journal of Science, 1838; and
associate proprietor, 1846; a director of the departments of chemistry, mineralogy, and
geology in the world's fair at New York, 1853; for many years secretary of the Ameri-
can association for the advancement of science; has published Pi rut Principles of Chem-
istry; Princvptesof Pkysux; many papers on scientific subjects; and has been a popular
lecturer on science.

SIL LOTH, a t. and watering-place of England, of quite recent origin, in the county
of Cumberland, at the terminus of a branch of the North British railway, 20 m. w.n.w.
of Carlisle, is picturesquely situated on the Solway. The port is of growing importance,
and possesses a good stone dock, with an area of five acres, having a fine jetty, 1000 feet
long, projecting into the sea. Silloth is much resorted to for sea-bathing, the climate
being mild and salubrious, and considered highly favorable for those affected with pul-
monary complaints. The mean annual temperature is 49, being the same as that of
Worthing (q.v.) on the s. coast of England, and only 1 = below that of Torquay. Accord-
ing to the registrar-general's returns, the mean average death-rate in Silloth 'for 10 years
is only 10.2 per 1000. Silloth is of easy access from all pc.rts of England !>y railway,
and steamers ply at stated intervals to and from Liverpool, Dublin, Belfast, aud the Isle
of Man.

SILLOWAY, THOMAS WILLIAM, b. Newburyport, Mass., 1828; ordained minister
of the Uuiversalist faith, 1862; became a designer of plans for public buildings in ^ost - -n,

Silo. Kf)A


1851. He has built and reconstructed several hundred churches and public buildings in
different parts of the United S'utes. He has edited books ou architecture, ventilation,
etc., and published Text-Book of Modern Carpentry.


SILO AM, or SHILOAII, is spoken of three times in Scripture: Isaiah says, " the

Online LibraryFrancis LieberLibrary of universal knowledge. A reprint of the last (1880) Edinburgh and London edition of Chambers' encyclopaedia, with copious additions by American editors (Volume 13) → online text (page 116 of 203)