Book of samples with Japanese silk fabrics, 1st half of the 20th century

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Bild
© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Bild
© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Bild
© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Bild
© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Bild
© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Production Technology
Collection
Textiles and Clothing
Epoch
1850 - 1899
At the moment this object is not published in the museum.

A beautiful death: silkworms use their salivary glands to produce precious silk fibres and then pupate inside the cocoons formed as a result. But before they are allowed to hatch, the silkworms are boiled in hot water or steamed inside the cocoons.

Silk production was an important factor in Vienna and Lower Austria in the 18th and 19th century. Maria Theresa encouraged the planting of mulberry trees, which provided food for the silkworms. One of the centres for the production and consumption of mercery was Vienna, all the more so as its fashion-conscious resident population boasted a strong purchasing power. Silk ribbons in particular were very popular. In Vienna in 1813, 600 silkware manufacturers employed around 15,000 people working on 8,000 hand looms. Three years later Christian Georg Hornbostel was granted a patent on a mechanical silk weaving loom and opened a weaving mill in Leobersdorf (Lower Austria). A vast proportion of the yarns came from Lombardy, but when the province was surrendered in 1859, the silk trade lost much of its significance. The Technisches Museum Wien owns a whole array of silk production equipment and products from that period.

Nonetheless, silk remained popular, if only for its many properties. It is both lightweight and strong, and relatively non-creasing; it insulates against the cold and the heat, and it is easy to dye or print. With international demand pushing up the price of silk, attempts were made to manufacture a product with comparable properties. Around 1884 French chemist Hilaire de Chardonnet developed the first artificial silk consisting of nitrocellulose. This innovative material caused quite a stir when it was presented at an exhibition a few years later. Original silks and motifs on silk fabrics, including some inspired by Japanese themes, were popular once again during Vienna’s Jugendstil movement.


Date of origin: first half of the 20th century



Inv.Nr. 82818

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