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3324

Antique American Silk Textile Sample By Cheney Brothers, Circa 1920

Size 13" x 8"
Size 33 x 20cm

12 Pieces below in 12 colors

More information below about Cheney Silk

 

Silk American Textiles

Cheney Brothers Silk, South Manchester,
Connecticut
Cheney Brothers Silk Mills from The Story of Silk and Cheney Silk, 1916 The first silk mill in the United States was begun by Rodney and Horatio Hanks, at Mansfield, Connecticut in 1810. The “mill” was only 12 ft by 12 ft in size. The mill made sewing thread by adding twist on machines of their design run by water power. The mill and two others associated with this venture were abandoned in 1828 because the machinery was too crude to produce commercial sewing thread. In 1815, William H. Horstmann, built a mill in Philadelphia for production of trimmings and ribbons. He imported a Jacquard loom in 1824. The Mansfield Silk Company, begun in the center of the silk growing district, made use of water power for reeling, but was unsuccessful in attempts at weaving. The mill failed as a result of failure in the speculation with the morus multicaulis. The first really successful manufacturers in the United States were the Cheney Brothers. The original mill was begun as the Mt. Nebo Silk Mills, South Manchester, Connecticut, in January, 1838. Although somewhat neglected during the time of the morus multicaulis speculation, it is the only mill established before that date that was permanently successful. The story of the Cheney silk mills is typical of the growth of the industry, and, even more than that, of the development of the United States from an agricultural to a manufacturing country. One must remember that England wanted the colonies and the new States to remain suppliers of raw materials and held all mechanical developments for internal use. Samuel Slater carried the plans for his textile enterprise out of England in his head. A number of details of the crude beginnings of the factory system by the Cheney Brothers were preserved in their diaries.


Effect of Tariffs The tariff that was put on silk goods during the war made it possible to develop the weaving of silk far more extensively in this country. Cheney Brothers began the weaving of ribbons on a large scale in 1861 and of grosgrains in 1866. In manufacturing industries, it is indisputable that while inventions have multiplied wages, these same inventions and competition have lowered prices, in spite of the tariff. In many cases it is only that tariff that made the development of the industry possible at all in this country. The company prospered. Additional spinning mills were built in 1872. In 1873, the name of the company was changed from Chaney Brothers Manufacturing Company to simply Cheney Brothers. In 1880, the company began weaving plush and velvet extensively. Looms were imported from Europe. By 1892, Richard Monners developed new velvet looms for the company. Growth in the silk industry and at Cheney Brothers continued for the next twenty plus years following 1892. In 1916, the size of the Cheney mills included over 36 acres of floor space. No specific details of the layout or ensuing events are recorded in the text. Under the tariff system the value of manufacturing grew from almost nothing to tremendous numbers. In England, just the opposite occurred. In the United States the value of manufacturing increased from $6,600,000 in 1860 to $197,000,000 in 1910, while the number of employees rose from 5,000 to 120,000. Imports of manufactured silk amounted to about $33,000,000 in 1861 and remained about constant through the ensuing years to 1910. In 1913, the United States consumed as much silk in manufactured goods (10,700,000 kilograms) as France, Germany, Italy, and England combined. Production, 1913 Japan, Export 11,000,000 kilo Shanghai and Canton, Export 8,750,000 Europe 4,000,000 Levant and Central Asia 2,250,000 Consumption, 1913 United States 10,700,000 kilo France 4,400,000 Germany 3,600,000 Switzerland 1,700,000 Russia 1,700,000 Italy 1,700,000 Austria-Hungary 1,100,000 England 800,000 Other Countries 600,000

 



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