Hanks Silk Mill
Before 1800, most of the silk made in America was exported as thick cocoons spun by silkworms, in its raw state. Two innovative brothers, Rodney and Horace Hanks of Mansfield, Connecticut, built this tiny water-powered silk mill in 1810 and were the first to began processing silk fiber from cocoons.
The cocoons were produced by silk worms, a caterpillar, fed from the adjoining mulberry grove. One
cocoon contains a single strand of silk up to 1,000 yards long.
This mill is believed to be the first water-powered silk mill in the United States. The silk thread produced at this mill was sold across the country. Soon other American silk producers followed this trend.
The Hanks later moved into a larger mill, where they continued to make thread until the 1920s.
Demonstrations at Hanks Silk Mill show how silk cocoons are turned into thread at the mill and you
can see the silk worms at work.
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