No wonder that Robert Hooke was so fascinated by silk and not by wool, cotton, linen, hemp or other natural textile fibers known to him. Silk was precious and expensive; it formed the clothes of the privileged. A gentleman’s dress of dyed silk cost between 20 and 45 Florentine gold florins (guilders) in the middle of the sixteenth century, equivalent to the cost of 5 to 9 cows. Silk was beautiful to dye and was soft on the skin. Plebs had to wear garments of coarse linen from flax or of itching wool from sheep. No wonder that natural scientist Hooke (1635–1703) wanted to see an artificial silk.
KeywordsMercury Europe Steam Amide Rubber
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