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Clothing Fabrics - Tests For Silk

( Originally Published 1924 )

Since wisdom in the selection of silks is a valu-able aid to the one who believes in economical efficiency, a few tests are given.

Burning Test :

Pure dye silk, whether fabric or thread, when burned leaves a crispy coal or ash.

Weighting with sugar leaves an ash like burned sugar. Weighting with iron leaves a soft reddish ash. Weighting with tin leaves a firm black ash, resembling cloth or thread.

Artificial silk, because it is made from a cotton or wood fiber, burns like vegetable fiber. In white, true silk will turn yellow if tested with nitric acid; but if artificial, it will not. Artificial silks have a tendency to dissolve or become weakened when boiled.

Tests for Mixtures:

In testing for silk and wool a sample is placed in cold concentrated hydrochloric acid from two to five minutes. Silk dissolves, but the wool is hardly affected.

In testing for silk and cotton, a sample is boiled in caustic potash—which should be kept away from hands and clothing. The animal fiber will dissolve, leaving the cotton.

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