Silk is a product that is found all over the world, considered a special item, used for many different products, and can be manufactured differently. The main purpose of silk however is to produce clothing however. This type of clothing was considered in history to be for the wealthy and for special occasions. Now however, silk can be found in every type of clothing and for just about any occasion.
The specific silk mill in Florence Massachusetts is called, the Nonotuck Silk Company. Samuel Whitemarsh originally started the company, in 1832. He purchased 25 acres in of mulberry trees near the mill; these trees would be used to provide a home the silk worms needed. He was part of the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, a utopian group known for the want for all people to be free, no matter sex, color, or religion. An interesting fact about this community is that Sojourner Truth was an active member in this community. Because of this, the company was at first a way to boycott the cotton trade and slavery, and later became part of the Underground Railroad. This did not happen however until Samuel L. Hill invented a machine that would change everything. He created a machine that could create silk so fine, that it could be used in a sowing machine. Being a part of the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, Hill later took over the factory and used his machine while still boycotting the slave trade. Because he was an avid abolitionist and an extremely smart businessman, he fought slavery and brought his business to the top. He used his house however as a stop on the Underground Railroad, his house is located at 31-35 Maple Street, Florence Massachusetts, which could very possibly be on our tour. The mill however was renamed to Corticelli Silk Company, and became one of the largest silk thread producers in the world. The company would import raw silk from Japan, or used silk they produced, and would turn it into thread that could be sold, or used at the factory to create clothing. Because this company was booming, it advertised in New York City on 42nd street, with a kitten playing with a spool of thread from 1910 to 1913. After this, business continued to progress until 1930 when the business closed. This is amazing because it was originally started to produce a product that slaves did not, but later turned into a company that would effect silk production in the world. It was around for 98 years, and multiple wars, which is another positive attribute towards the company.