20307--Sorting and Cleaning Frisons Before Rolling Out the Gum--
Silk Industry (Spun Silk), So. Manchester, Conn., U.S.A.

An important form of raw material used in making spun silk is known as frisons. These are long tangled cords of silk fibres produced as waste in the reeling of raw silk from the cocoons. They are imported in bales. The women in the picture are busy sorting and untangling the frisons before they are put through a washing process, which is necessary to remove the gum. The washing process softens the gum so that the fibres can be separated from each other and thus be readily combed.

The washing of the frisons is done in a strong hot soap solution. The frisons are kept in this solution for three or four hours. The washing is then continued by the transfer from the hot soap-water solution to a washing machine containing cold water, and where pure water is continuously sprayed over the frisons. After the cold water rinsing, a hydro-extractor is used to expel the water. The frisons thus being thoroughly degummed and softened, are allowed to dry.

From the collection of the Manchester Historical Society.