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Industries – Beautiful Things- Coloured Silk Cones

From Dunfermline’s silk factories

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When is a worm not a worm…

Did you know that silk worms are not worms at all? They are actually the caterpillars of silk moths. Nowadays, silk worms are mainly produced in captivity. The moths lay eggs on specially prepared paper. The eggs hatch and the caterpillars (silkworms) are fed on fresh mulberry leaves. After about 35 days, the caterpillars are 10,000 times heavier than when hatched and are ready to begin spinning a cocoon.  Each caterpillar begins spinning a cocoon by moving its head in a pattern. Two glands produce liquid silk, which hardens when it comes in contact with air. Within 2–3 days, the caterpillar spins about 1 mile of silk and is completely encased in a cocoon.

At Winterthur Silk Mill in Dunfermline, the silk thread used to weave their material was imported from China and Japan. Imagine how many miles of thread the silk worms spun for all the beautiful materials the factory produced!