August 14, 2022

In common language, silk usually refers to caterpillar silk, the glandular secretion of the caterpillar of the silkworm (Bombyx mori), which is an important raw material for the textile industry. However, in a broader sense, silk refers to the glandular secretion of any animal that bears some resemblance to caterpillar silk. Examples include wild silk or spider silk. Only the fabric obtained from the cocoon of the silkworm is called silk. Types of silk fabric: taffeta, crepe desin, crepe jorsset, crepe satin, duisses, organza, satin, pongé, twill, bourette. Wild silk is used to make doupion, honan, or santung silk. The processing of silk originates from ancient China, where the secret was kept for thousands of years. Chinese silk goods were transported by merchants to Europe on the silk routes through Asia, where they were held in high esteem. It was only in 552 that two monks who had visited China succeeded in smuggling silkworm eggs to Europe, thereby establishing the silkworm breeding here as well, which then spread to many countries. Silk clothing has always been considered a luxury item in Europe. In 1680, János Péter Passardi introduced silkworm breeding in Hungary. After that, many silk manufactories operated in the country. In Óbuda, the first factory, the Filatórium (Silk Threading), was established in 1783, which was followed in 1785 by the Silk Bobber, also in Óbuda. Both Kossuth and Széchenyi advocated silkworm breeding, but this was finally realized only in 1880 by Pál Bezerédj in Tolna. Later, silk factories were established in many cities of Hungary, which operated until the 1990s. The cultivation of silk is difficult and its processing is labor-intensive. The cocoon is formed by the secretions of the two spiny glands produced by the silkworm, and the caterpillar cocoons itself from the double thread. At the beginning of the processing, the pupa is killed with hot air, then the material of the cocoon is softened in hot water and the silk thread itself is removed from it. This is then transformed into yarn by textile operations and made suitable for further processing (weaving, knitting, embroidery, etc.). With the advancement of synthetic fiber materials, its importance has decreased, accounting for only about 0.2% of all textile raw material consumption.

The caterpillar silk

Silkworm silk, a fine, shiny, flexible fiber produced from the secretion of silkworm glands, is one of the animal-derived fiber materials used in the textile industry. Its suitability for weaving was recognized by the Chinese already 3000 years before our era. In 2007, during an excavation in Jiangxi province, a colorful piece of silk fabric was found in an old tomb, the age of which is 2,500 years old. The secret of its processing has been preserved for 25 centuries. It was a very important trade item that was transported all the way to Rome on the famous Silk Road (which actually had several branches through Asia and Europe). Today, China is still the largest silk-producing country: in 2006, the total production of caterpillar silk in the world was approx. It was 145,000 tons, about 72% of which came from China.

Historical overview

The history of silk dates back to BC. It dates back to the 3rd millennium. According to legend, the Chinese empress Hsi Ling Si, who e. He lived around 2640, accidentally dropped a cocoon of silk into his hot tea, which softened from the heat and released a long, fine thread. Thanks to this coincidence, they would have discovered caterpillar silk and started making clothes from it. Technological phases of the ancient production of silk in China In 2009, in Harappa, Pakistan, a radiocarbon dating of BC was found. He dated silk threads from other butterfly species (Antheraea assamensis, Antheraea mylitta) to between 2450 and 2200, which proves that the Indus Valley Civilization independently of China