Edward P Roberts.

A manual containing directions for sowing, transplanting and raising of the mulberry tree; together with proper instructions for propagating the same by cuttings, layers, &c., &c.; as also, instructions for the culture of silk: to which is added, calculations shewing the produce and probable online

. (page 13 of 15)
Online LibraryEdward P RobertsA manual containing directions for sowing, transplanting and raising of the mulberry tree; together with proper instructions for propagating the same by cuttings, layers, &c., &c.; as also, instructions for the culture of silk: to which is added, calculations shewing the produce and probable → online text (page 13 of 15)
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like a string of small pearls or beads. It is easy to know
if the seeond throw be perfect, by untwisting part of the
urganzine, and when it is open, or slackening the hand a
little, each thread twists round itself In obedience to
the first throw or twist. The water may be filled up as
it wastes, but the ashes, soap and oil, are to be renew-
ed every day.


It Is not our purpose to gl? e minute descriptions of the
various reels, looms, and other machinery used in the
preparation and manufacture of silk. Such an occupa-
tion of our pages, we deem wholly unnecessary, be-
cause it is not to be presumed that farmers will desire
to become manufacturers of such implements, and, in-
deed, if they were so disposed, the immunities of the pa-
tent law would prevent them. We shall, therefore,
content ourself with enumerating such of the most
prominent inventions, as appear to us, by their merit,
to demand notice. Indeed, more than this, In the pres-
ent state of improvement, when the spirit of emulation
is emphatically abroad, would be worse than superero-
gatory. Any individual entering into the silk culture,
will, as a matter of sheer prudeoce, in the exercise of
a sound discrimination, procure for himself the best of
all such machinery as he may require to carry on such
.branches of the business, as it may be bis peculiar plea-
sure to engage in *, and with respect to the prosecution of
the business by manufacturing companies, they will not
require to be reminded of what particular kinds of ma-
chinery, or implements, they will need, their interest
will at once dictate the procurement of such as is best
adapted to the uses, to which they Intend to appropri-
ate them.

The brief notice below will suffice for all profitable
uses of the farmer or planter :
1. The silk reel, of Piedmont*
t, Gideon B. Smith 1 1 improved silk, reel—being an
improvement upon the above, the operation being great-
ly simplified.

3. Brooks 1 patent nth spinning and ruling machine.
This is represented as being a very simple and easy op-
erating machine, and yet one of the most perfect that
has been invented for the purpose of reeling and twist-
ing silk from the cocoons, and manufacturing it into
sewing silk.

4. Gay and MoteUjfs reel, and sitk power loom. The fol-
lowing description of the latter improved machinery,
we copy from that excellent and sensibly conducted pe-
riodical, "The Silk Worm;* published at Albany, New
York, and edited by Samuel Blydenburgh, Esquire. —

"By the improved system of winding silk, invented
by Mr. Gay, many and important advantages are gain-
ed ; but Still it will not altogether supercede the use of
the reel. By his plan the silk is wound on spools from
the cocoons. Tin this state it is not liable to tangle as
when in skeins. When once wound in a contiguous
thread on the spools, it may be kept any length of time,
and carried any distance, without injury. It will be
in the same state of keeping, as the spools of cotton
thread, and may always be wound off in the same entire
thread as it was wound on.

When the silk is intended to be sold to the manufac-
turer even to the merchant, this is infinitely the safest
way in which it can be preserved. When in the skein
it is always liable to injuries, either in keeping or in

If the silk is eultivated near to where it is to be manu-
factured, the manufacturer can furnish the spools,
weighing them as they are delivered out, and deduct-
ing the weight of the spools when returned from the
silk. If it is to g° through several hands, the spools

may be snide of an exact given weight, and warranted
not to weigh more.

The whole process of winding is, by this plan, no*
rendered much more simple and easy to learn, but is in*
finitely more convenient, as it will be done by a little)
snug machine, which will be no inconvenience at the
fireside, while the regular silk reel is much more eusa~
brous and would scarcely find room in a small dwell*

But in nearly all cases, where the silk is to be mniMa*
factured, it will still have to be reeled from thee*
bobbins, or spools, into hanks or skeins. This, howev-
er, is no objection to winding it originally on spools, far
the saving and other advantages which result froem
keeping and preserving the silk on spools, overbal-
ance the trouble of two windings."

f^We take pleasure in stating, that these ma-
chines may be obtained on application to Samuel £fy-
denburgh, Esquire, Albany, New York.

Speaking of the machinery of Mr.Gay and his partner,
Mr. Moseley, Judge Ambrose Spencer, of Albany, Near
York, in a letter to Mr. A. H. Brown, of Frederick
county, Md. makes the following remarks, which,
through the politeness of the latter gentleman, we are*
permitted to copy :

<' I am personally acquainted with Mr. £av : he is,
indeed, a very ingenious man : independent of the reef
invented by bim and Moseley, be, or they, have sim-
plified all the machinery necessary for the manufac-
ture of silk, and there is now in operation at Provi-
dence, under Mr. Gay's direction, a manufactory of
silk, the stock in which has sold for more man 100 per
cent., advance. He sent me a pattern for a vest, equal
to any imported. He finds that the power loom, by
which cotton has been woven, may be successfully used
for the weaving of silk. Mr. Gay is the very man to
give or furnish instruction in the art of reeling, and to
establish a manufactory, furnishing all the necessary

And in addition to this high encomium upon the mer-
its of Mr. Gay and bis machinery, we have seen it
stated, that his red is so simple in its construction, as
that any woman can acquire sufficient knowledge of its
use, in two hours instruction, to become a tolerably ex-
pert reeler.

5. Terhoeven'i winding, doubting and twitting machine.
This is represented as a simple machine, invented by
Messrs. Terhoevens, of Philadelphia, used for winding
silk from cocoons, and for doubling and twisting the
thread at the same time.

6. Cobb's reel. This Is an invention of Mr. J. H.
Cobb, of Massachusetts, and it is stated to be a most
efficient machine, combining in an eminent degree sim-
plicity with power.

There are many other reeling machines, of European
and American inventions, as well as numerous silk
looms, twisting machines, draw boys, ribbon looms,
looms for weaving plain and figured stuffs, and power
and other looms, and inventions, of one kind or another,
out of number j but as our work is intended for farmers
and planters, who, we presume, will scarcely ever car-
ry the business beyond converting the cocoons into raw
silk, we consider that, in noticing the machines herein
recited, we have accomplished all that need be required
by those for whose accommodation we have ventured
to compile this work. Indeed, so far as the interests of
the husbandman is concerned, except lor the purposes
of domestic use. such as sewing silk, knitting of stock-
ings, and the fabrication of an occasional dress for the
females of the family, we should doubt the propriety
of his carrying the silk culture beyond the point of
reeling. Having effected that, we think, he should be
content to transfer the business of all subsequent labor
upon the commodity, to the hands of the manufacturer ,

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Waving hie factor to settle the questions with respect
to who Mm! should be,— or whether he should find for il
* foreign or domestic market*


The disposal of the silk after it shall have been raised,
being am object of the first importance, it seems oppor-
tune that we should say a word or two with respect to
the markets. By a letter of Judge Ambrose Spencer,
U b stated, that the import of silk amounts to the
▼slue of ill 0,000.000, manually, and as he very justly
remarks, this will increase with our wealth and popu-
lation. Thus we have a domestic market, to this enor-
mous amount,! nvitmg the American husbandman to sup-
ply it. And already various manufactories in the states
•f New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massa-
chusetts, have been established, to convert the raw silk
into stuffs of various descriptions, and so confident are
the calculating people of that intelligent and enterpris-
ing portion of our country, of the entire and triumphant
success of the silk business, that companies and indi-
viduals are in every direction of it, entering with spirit
into the culture and manufacture of silk. Indeed, so
rapid have been the multiplication of establishments
for its manufacture, that the demand for the raw mate-
rial, greatly exceeds the supply, end et the present mo-
muni almost any quantity of cocoons or raw silk, would find
m ready and profitable market, in any of the principal
eastern cities. The price of raw silk, we have seen
quoted at $4 per pound, and that of eoeoone at f 3 a
bushel. We have never counted the number of cocoons
contained in a bushel ; but from haying measured and
counted a quart, we should think that from 4,000 to
6,000, according to their size and perfection, would
make a bushel of cocoon*. The only thing like a cal-
culation upon this part of the subject, that we have
been able to lay our hands upon, we found in the very
interesting letter of William B Buchanan, Esquire, in
whicfa he speaks of 1,500 worms making about three
peeks of cocoons. If his measure be the correct one, then,
two thousand would make a bushel, but we incline to
ibiok that an average, of any considerable quantitn, would
take fully the number assumed by us.

Besides the domestic market just spoken of, France
import* annually between #5,000,000 and #6.000,000
worth of raw silk, and this, too, notwithstanding she is
a silk growing country. And England, owing to the
bumtdity of her climate, being unable to raise the
worms to advantage, has to draw all the raw material
for her numerous silk manufactories, from distant coun-
tries, and we have seen the annual average amount
consumed by them from 1821 to 1828, a period of 1
years, stated at #17,255,368. Thus then, in our home
market, and iu the markets of France and England, we
find a demand for raw silk, annually, of about #33,000,-
000, which, as those countries respectfully expand in
population and wealth, must increase in a correspondent
ratio ; and no one will pretend to affirm, that, if we sup-
ply the article upon as good terms as other nations, we
will net have an equal chance with them in so doing.
And here we would ask, what ean prevent us, with
our advantages of locality, of climate, extensive do-
mains* aod soil/rom at once becoming successful rivals
in every market where the raw silk material is demand-
ed r There is nothing within the range of probability,
that ean operate unfavorably to our competition, un-
less, indeed, it be our own supineness— our culpable in-
difference—our criminal neglect— tto add to our produc-
tions, a staple commodity, which will, if prosecuted
with vigor and intelligence for ten years,equal, if it does
not exceed, our exportation of cotton, without interfer-
ing io the least with its consumption. As it has been for-
cibly observed by Judge Spencer, our import of silk stuffs
already exceed our entire export otbreadstuffs. This is an
important fact, because, with the facilities of manufac-
turing already established and being established, we

have at our own doors, a market greatly exceeding In.
demand any supply which for several years the country
will be able to furnish, and at prices too, which offer
the most generous rewards to the labor of the agricul-

If it be said that these markets are to the eastward*
remote from the great Mulberry regions of the middle
and southern states, we affirm that agencies for the pur-
chase of raw silk, will rise up in every district ami city
of those regions, so soon as the article shall be grown,
therein in sufficient quantities to- make it an object*
Therefore, no farmer or planter should permit such a
thought to enter his mind, as there is nothing more cer-
tain than that markets and capital will spring up, and be
employed wherever and whenever profit is to be made,—
interest and emolument, being with merchants, as
with every body else, the great ruling motives by
whieh their actions are governed in matters of trade*


The Treasury Manual has the following, and aa
we see it copied by the Silk Culturist, published at
Hartford, Connecticut, by the Hartford county Silk So-
ciety, in the midst of the silk culture country, we take
it for granted that it is the approved method.

44 The single fibres of which the thread is composed,
are liable to suffer very different degrees of stretching
aa they are wound from the cocoons. If the cocoons are
not well sorted, this different degree of extension will be
the greater; and even when they are sorted, they
must still be subject to the same, because some are a lit-
tle longer in the water than others, and, therefore give
their silk easier ;. and also, the weak latter ends of
some cocoons wind off with the strong first part of
Others. The fibres being thus stretched unequally, will
occasion when the skein is taken from the reel too sud-
denly, those fibres which are most stretched to contract
more than the others, by which their union will be in
some measure destroyed, and the thread composed of
them rendered less compsct and firm, the fibres appear-
ing in several places disjoined from one another. To
remedy this, the skein should remain there six or eight
hours, until the unequal extension which it suffered io
winding is, by the stretch which it undergoes on the
reel, brought nearer to an equality ; and, until the
thread, by being well dried, has its fibres firmly united.
When the skein is quite drv, proceed to disband if
from the reel. First, squeeze it together all around, to
looien it upon the bars ; then, with a thread made of
the refuse silk, tie it on that place where it bore on
the bars of the reel : then slide it off the reel, and
make another tie on the part opposite to the one first
made ; after which, double it, and tie it near each ex-
tremity, and then lay it by for use or sale, in a dry
place. When the skein is finished, there should be a
mark tied to the end of the thread, otherwise it mav be
difficult to find it, if it mixes with the thiead of the


" The operation consist* of depriving silk of the prin-
ciples which affect its whiteness.

Make up the silk into hanks, that is to say, run a
thread around each hank, which consists of a certain
quantity of skeins tied together. After that, the hanks
are to be united, and several of them to be bound to-
gether, to make up a bundle, the sixes and names
Whereof vary according to the nature of the article

After this operation, soap is to be dissolved in water,
heated in a kettle in tae proportion of 15 lbs. of soap
to 100 lbs. of silk. Cut the soap into small slices to
promote its solution. After the soap has been dissolved ,
the kettle is to be filled with fresh water, which should
be pure, free from calcareous impregnation, but not in
unnecessary quantities, in order to avoid increasing the

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proportion of injurious salts, and weakening the force
of the solvent The proper proportions for this opera-
tion* as ascertained after many experiments on a large
scale, are V or 8 lbs. of water, to 1 of silk — 1-12 or
1-6 is sufficient for the greater number of colors : for
yeJtow, unbleached silks, it is necessary to add from 50
to ft per cent. ; for unbleached white silks, *5 per
cent, of soap. The water being in the kettle, the doors
of the furnace closed, leaving only a few J ire coals in
it, in order that the bath may be kept quite hot, but
without boiling ; for Dr. Bancroft says, that silk ought
never to be submitted to a boiling heat, either when
the mordant is applied, or afterwards in the dying op-
eration, as a high temperature, besides injuring the
texture and lustre of the silk, would detatcb and sep-
arate the mordant, before the coloring matter could
have combined, and produced an insoluble union with
both. Those eminent French chemists Thenard and
Board, else confirm Mr. Bancroft's views.

Whilst this bath is preparing, the hanks are to be put
Upon the pegs or pins, and when the bath is ready, the
silk la to no put into it, and left therein, until all the

Crt dipped is wholly freed from its gum ; which will
easily seen, by the whiteness and flexibility which
the silk acouires when deprived of it. The hanks are
4nen placed again on the rods, to undergo the same op-
eration in the parts not yet steeped ; they are then to
fee taken out of the batb, in proportion as they are
found divested of their gum.

The silk, thus ungmnmed, is to be wrung upon
the pins to remote the soap in it ; then to be dressed,
by being arranged upon the pins and upon the hands,
in order to disentangle it ; then a cord is to be run
through the hanks, to keep them down during the boil-
ing. About 8 or 9 hanks may be placed on a line. Af-
ter this the silks are to be put into bags of strong coarse
linen. These bags are to be put 14 or 15 inches wide
and 4 or 5 feet long,— closed at both ends, but open
lengthwise. When the silk is put in them they must
l>e stitched up— each bag will hold 30 lbs. of silk.

The silk thus bagged is to be submitted to a similar
soap bath, as above described, to undergo a boiling for a
quarter of an hour ; when it begins to boil over, it is
to be cheeked by adding cold water. The bags during
toiling must be often stirred to prevent the silk from
burning. This operation is performed with silk intend-
ed to remain white.

which a layer of ashes is to be placed ; pound the lotii
of brimstone coarsely ; then set fire to it and smoke
the silk during the nigbL The next day the door
and windows are to be opened, to let the smell of the
brimstone escape and dry the silk. If the silk should
not thus be dried, apply Jive coals in chaffing dishes or
some other convenience.


After having washed the silks, and divested these of
the soap by giving them a boiling, pass a cord through
them as when they are to be boiled; then take 60 lbs. of
alum, for 50 buckets of water— (dissolve the alum first
in hot water,) stir it well on emptying the solution of
alum into the tub, and it will prevent congelation.
This bath will answer for 150 lbs. of silk to be steeped
in it until the solution begins to have a fetid smell. The
silk should not be put in until it is perfectly cold. If
the alum water should appear too weak, more alum is
to be added.





For boiling silks intended for common colors, SO lbs.
of soap to 100 lbs. of raw silk. The process of boiling
the same, as the first described, with this difference
only, that as the silk is not to be freed from its gum,
the boiling is to bo continued three hours and a half,
taking care to fill up from time to time with water.

If the silks are intended to be dyed blue, or iron
gray, sulphur, or other colors, which require to be set
m a very deep white ground, in order to acquire the de-
sired beauty, there are to be used 30 lbs. of soap to 100
lbs. of silk, and the boiling to be continued three or
four hours. After being supposed to be boiled enough,
let the bags be raised with a slick, placed on a frame,
and examined if there be any parts where the liquid
ha« not penetrated. This is easily ascertained by the
yellow and a certain kind of slime remaining on those
parts. Should this defect be discovered , the bags of
silk must be again boiled until it be remedied. The loss
in boilinf is about one -fourth in weight.
The silks to be sutphured.shouid be extended on poles,
placed 7 or 8 feet from the ground, in a high apartment
without a chimney, where the air may freely circulate
by leaving the windows and door open. For every 100
lbs. of silk, take 1 1-2 pounds of roll brimstone, put it
into an earthen pan or iron kettle, at the bottom of

[Note. — The following receipts are proportioned to
lbs. of silk previously boiled.]

Take 1$ lb. of alum

20 lbs. common Lady's (St. Mary's) Thistle *
i lb. wood ashes.
Dissolve the alum in a kettle containing ten buckets
of water, pour the solution into a vat, fix your silk upon
rods, in the usual way, steep it in the solution, work H
well therein for an hour, take it out, and lay it aside
wet, for further use.

This being done, put ten buckets of water in a kettle,
add the St. Mary's Thistle, and boil it well for a quarter
of an hour, run the decoction through a sieve into a
pail, to separate the coarse parts from it; let it cool, un-
til you will be able to bear your bands in it, steep the
silk in the liquor, work it well therein for half an hour;
then take it out, wring it, and lay it aside, in its wet
state for further use.

The pails or vessels in which you dress the silk with
alum, and in which the liquor is, must be filled, and
kept full, during the process of working it, to within a
few inches of the top; and, should there be occasion to
fill up, or to increase the quantity of liquor with water,
care must be taken not to make it too cool, but to pre*
serve, at all times, a degree of heat, in which the*an4
can be barely held. While this is doing, the St. Mary's
thistle must be put into the kettle a second time, with
fresh water, and be boiled again. Then take out the
silk, dip out some of the liquor, in which you had pre*
viously worked the silk, and add as much of the liquor
of the second boiling to it as Was taken therefrom, so
that the first quantity will be preserved. The liquor
must now. as well as each time before you steep the
silk in it, be stirred well; then steep the silk in the li-
quor again, and work it well therein for half an hour.
The liquor may, in this latter process, be made a little
hotter than it was in the first; but be cautious not to
make it too hot, as the silk would be considerably in-
jured thereby.

* During this second process the wood ashes are to be
dissolved in a kettle, into which you have poured sosae
of the liquor of the second colouring, boiling hot; stir
the liquor and wood ashes well, and then let it settle.
This being done, pour some of the clear part of the so*
lution into the yellow liquor, after having first taken
out the silk, stir the whole of it well, steep the silk
in it again, and work it well therein during fifteen min-
utes. At the expiration of this time, or sooner, as you
may deem it necessary, take out a small quantity of the
silk, wring it, and examine whether it has retained the
required colour; should this not be the ease, a small
quantity of the solution of wood ashes must be added to

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the liquor, the silk steeped in it again, and well worked
la the seme, until the required colour be obtained.


Take 11-4 lb. of alum
8 lbs. of safflour
1-4 lb. of alum.
Dissolve the alum in a kettle containing ten buckets
of water; then pour the solution into a Tat, steep the
silk in it, work it well therein for half an hour, wring
it, lay it bj in its wet state, for further use, and throw
away the solution of alum as useless. Put again ten
buckets of fresh water in the kettle, add eight pounds
of safflour and 1-4 lb. alum, let it boil for half an hour,
run the solution through a sieve into a fat, steep the silk
in the liquor, work it well therein a quarter of an hour,
wring and dry it, fix it on the wringing post, wring and
beat it well.

With the rest of the above liquor, a pale yellow may
yet be dyed.

A Citron Yellow, which may be heightened to a band-
some gold tint.

Take 1 1-4 lb. of alum,
14 lbs. of safflour,
1-4 lb. of alum,

Put ten buckets of water in a kettle, add one and a
quarter pounds of alum, dissolve it therein, pour the
solution into a vat, and work the silk in the solution for
about half an hour, wring it, and lay it by in its wet
state, for further use.

This being done, pour ten buckets of fresh water into
the kettle, add seven pounds of safflour, and boil it half
an "hour, pour the liquor through a sieve into a vat and
"work it well therein for the space of fifteen minutes;
then wring and dry it. The yellow liquor is now to be
poured back into the kettle, the remaining seven pounds
of the safflour to be put into it, together with a quarter
of a pound of alum, and the whole to be boiled half an

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Online LibraryEdward P RobertsA manual containing directions for sowing, transplanting and raising of the mulberry tree; together with proper instructions for propagating the same by cuttings, layers, &c., &c.; as also, instructions for the culture of silk: to which is added, calculations shewing the produce and probable → online text (page 13 of 15)