20300--Opening Bales of Raw Silk as it Arrives from China, Japan and Italy--
Silk Industry, So. Manchester, Conn., U.S.A.

A series of views on the Silk Industry in the United States naturally begins with a glance at the raw material. Hence this picture appropriately shows bales of raw silk in the process of being opened in the factory. The view here given in the American factory of Cheney Brothers, South Manchester, Conn.

The raw material, however, cannot be produced in the United States as easily and economically as in China, Japan, and Italy. Raw silk comes from the cocoon of the silkworm. The silkworms require large quantities of mulberry leaves for food. The mulberry tree thrives best in China, Japan and Italy, and the labor in these countries is far less expensive than in America. For these reasons it is cheaper to import raw silk than to produce it in our own country.

It is a most interesting study, indeed, to observe the life of the silkworm from the time the moth deposits the egg on a mulberry leaf until the cocoon has been spun. The egg hatches into a tiny silkworm. The silkworm is fed mulberry leaves, it grows rapidly, moults five times, and in about thirty days stops eating and encloses itself in a cocoon of its own spinning. In another series of views, 14744 and following, are given excellent detailed pictures of silkworm activities.

From the collection of the Manchester Historical Society.