The silk industry of America has of late years rapidly advanced to the front rank among the great textile industries of the world. It may indeed be proud of this position, to which that enterprising spirit and untiring energy peculiar to our nation, combined with our great technical and natural resources, has brought it.
That we are, on the other hand, not yet at the height of perfection we are also compelled to acknowledge, but if we consider the short space of time that the American industry has required for its development, as compared to the decades, almost centuries, to which some of the great European silk centers can look back, the fact is neither surprising nor discouraging.
While it must not be our aim to imitate or copy their ways, inasmuch as out conditions and circumstances are quite different from theirs, we may still profitably study their methods in order to overcome our deficiencies.
The greatest advantage which our competitors derive from such a long existence consists in having at their disposal a force of skilful, trained help. The manufacturers, appreciating the importance of this factor, make great efforts and pecuniary sacrifices to elevate and maintain the high standard of their industry.
For instance, they support textile schools and lecture courses, where young men can acquire a thorough technical education and equip themselves for a career of usefulness, thereby serving their own interests and at the same time furthering those of their chosen profession.
This beneficial influence cannot fail to exert itself from the standard of the higher employer down to that of the weaver, who would naturally take more pains and interest in his work than if he were a mere mechanical appendage to his loom in order to keep it in motion.
Very little has been done in his country for technical education as far as the silk industry is concerned, and it was on this special branch, that prompted the author to offer in the present little work a treatise on the theory of shaft weaving for broad silks and ribbons.
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