20621--Mammoth Plant of the Mitsui Company, Boiling Cocoons and Reeling Silk,
Maebashi, Japan.

In this view can be seen long lines of Japanese girls engaged in gathering together a number of the ends of filaments from cocoons and starting those threads towards the reel.

The object of reeling is to bring together the fibers from four or five but sometimes up to twenty cocoons, and to form them into one continuous, uniform and regular strand, which constitutes raw silk.

After the cocoons have been boiled ... the cocoons are transferred to the basins containing water heated to from 75 degrees to 85 degrees Fahr. in which they float while the silk is being reeled off. If the water is too cold the gum does not soften enough and the cocoons rise out of the water while being reeled, and if the water is too hot, the cocoons collapse and fall to the bottom. The ends of the requisite number of filaments being brought together, they are passed through an eyelet of guide and another equal set are similarly passed through another guide. The guides or eyelets can be seen near the front of each basin and each line of silk can be traced passing from each.

The two sets of filaments are then crossed or twisted around each other several times so as to make one thread, after which they are separated and passed through guides to the reel around which they are separately wound.

The object of crossing the threads is to round, smooth and condense the separate filaments of each set into one strand, and as the surface of the filament is gummy and adhesive, it is found on drying that they have agglutinated into compact single fibers of raw silk.

In the next view No. 20622 we shall see these threads being wound onto the reels.

From the collection of the Manchester Historical Society.