5 Skeins of raw silk; ca. 1900

5 Skeins of raw silk; ca. 1900

Usage conditions apply
5 Skeins of raw silk; Long reel, White. Reeled in Washington. Transfer to the Textiles Department from the US Dept. of Agriculture sericulture display; Bureau of Entomology. July 9, 1912.
At various points in American history, from colonial times onward, people experimented with sericulture - meaning the raising of silkworms and reeling of silk filaments from silkworm cocoons. At first it was hoped that this silk could be shipped to Great Britain for use in its silk textile manufacturing industry. Experiments in the 1760s and after, into the early 20th century, hoped to raise enough silk to support an American silk textile industry. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, efforts in California and other (primarily) western states were supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with a display in the department's headquarters building in Washington, DC. The display also highlighted the imports of raw silk from Asia, Europe, and the Middle East that most manufacturers used in their products. The contents of the display were transferred to the (then) U.S. National Museum in 1912, for exhibition in the Textile Hall, as educational background for the exhibition of silk textiles manufactured in the US.
Currently not on view
Object Name
silk skeins
silk skeins, batch of
date made
ca. 1900
overall: 3 1/4 in x 15 in x 9 in; 8.255 cm x 38.1 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Transfer from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, 1912
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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