- What is silk? How is it obtained?
- Countries which produce and export silk.
- Countries which manufacture it.
- Artificial silk.
Silk has always been regarded as the clothing of the rich, and indeed the cost of this lovely material puts is beyond the reach of poor men. Every school book tells us that silk is produced by a tiny worm. The way in which the worm makes the wonderful cocoon is very interesting. Long ago the Chinese knew how to make silk, but they kept the knowledge a secret. They were the only nation able to supply silk to the rest of the world, and the trade was their monopoly for years.
The silkworm can be reared successfully only in warm, or temperate lands. It follows, therefore, that Europe must import her raw material for the maufacture of silk fabrics. Japan leads world in the export of raw silk, providing as she does about half the world’s supply. The wives and children of Japanese farmers find the rearing of the silkworm an additional source of income. China, however, how the . largest yield of the raw material; but, as she consumes as much at home, she ranks second in the export trade. In both China and Japan, silk fabrics enter largely into the clothing of the community. Raw silk is also largely exported from Syria, Asia Minor, Egypt and those European countries bordering the Mediterranean.
What becomes of the raw material exported? Two-third of the world’s supply of raw silk is sent to the United States of America.
Artificial “silks” are now being made in vast quantities. As these fabrics are cheaper than those of pure silk, the demand for them is enormous. They are produced from cotton down, linen fabrics, and wood pulp. Many countries are interested in the output of artificial silk, the most prominent at present being the United States, France, Great Britain and Germany.
There is plenty of raw silk prepared in Pakistan and Bharat and this industry might have a future in our country. The only difficulty is that artificial silk is so go and so cheap that the demand for it has lessened the sales fo real silk and this tendency will probably increase in the future.