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"Culture of Silk" from New England Farmer

Page 249
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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In one of the many governmental initiatives to promote the growth of silk, the government of Massachusetts offered a bounty to plant mulberry trees. This was based on the idea, as the article stated, that mulberry trees "would grow in any country between 20 and 50 degrees of latitude." It turned out that even the most robust versions of the mulberry could be killed by the hard winters of the early 1840s, and that they were not resistant to a blight that wiped out the remainder. The silk industry, though, thrived in the 1830s. The introduction from China of a new, more robust variety, Morus multicaulis, signaled to many that silk could be made profitably here. But the technical problems inherent in the creation and processing of silk, combined with the failure of the mulberry tree, meant that the domestic production of silk never amounted to much.


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