William Skinner and Sons "Vrille" silk fabric length; 1932.

William Skinner and Sons "Vrille" silk fabric length; 1932.

Usage conditions apply
William Skinner and Sons "Vrille" silk satin-face, twill back, black fabric length; 1932. Soft, crepe-like, corkscrew weave, all silk fabric, having a slightly irregular, warp face satin surface and twill back, produced with doubled yarns of different sizes. Filling (spun silk) is coarser than the warp (filature silk). Used for women's shoes. Yarn-dyed black. Selvedge says "Skinner's" woven in black.
William Skinner emigrated from England to Massachusetts in 1843, finding work as silk dyer. He eventually opened his own silk manufacturing company, the Unquomonk Silk Co., making silk threads and yarns for weaving and sewing. In 1874, the mill was destroyed when the Mill River Dam gave way. Skinner moved his company a few miles away, to Holyoke, Massachusetts, and rebuilt the mill, expanding production to include woven fabrics (Skinner satins were nationally famous) and silk braids. He ran the company until his death in 1902, and the firm stayed in the family, and remained in operation in Holyoke, until 1961, when his heirs sold it to Indian head Mills, which immediately closed the Holyoke operation.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Fabric Length
fabric length
Fabric length
date made
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Holyoke
Associated Place
United States: New Jersey, Allentown
Physical Description
silk (overall material)
black (overall color)
corkscrew weave (overall production method/technique)
satin face; twill back (overall production method/technique)
overall: 36 in x 38 in; 91.44 cm x 96.52 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of William Skinner and Sons
American Textile Industry
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Textiles
American Silks
American Textile Industry
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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