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Hooke, Robert, 1635-1703 / Micrographia: or some physiological descriptions of minute bodies made by magnifying glasses : with observations and inquiries thereupon
(MDCLXVII [1667])

Observ. IV. Of fine waled silk, or taffety,   pp. 6-7


Page 7


               M I C ROG RAP EtalA                                7
regular pieces,a b,c dand efB The XWarp,or the thread that ran crofling the
Riband,appear'd like a fingle Rope of an Inch Diameter, but the Woof,
or the thread that ran the length of the Riband, appear'd not half fi
big. Each Inch of fix-peny-brdad Ribahd Appearing tuj; iek then a piece
of Matting Inch and halt thick, and twelve foot fquare ; a few yards of
this, would be enough to floor the long Gallery of the Loear at r .
But to return to our piece of Riband: It affords us a not unpleafant Abe
je&, appearing like a bundle, or wreath, of very clear and tranfpartit
cylinders,if the Silk be white, and curioully ting'd 5 if it be colotir'deach
of thofe fmall horney cylinders affording in fome place or other ofthffm
as vivid a reflcation, as if it had been fent from a Cylinder of Glafs or
Horn,
In-fo-much, that the refledions of Red) appear'd as if coming from fo
many Granates, or Rubief. The lovelinefs of the colours ofSilks above
thofe ofhairy Stuffs,or Linnen,confifring as I blfe-where intimate,chidy
in
the transparency, and vivid refiefions from the Conraveor inner fiufacc
of the tranftarcnt cylinder, as are alio the colours of Precious Stonles;
for moflt of the refletions from cach of thefe C/ina ers, come from the
Concave furface of the air, which is as 'twere the ifil that incompaflbes
the
cylinder. The colours with which each ofthele cfylnders are ting'd, feem
partly to be fuperhcial, and flicking to the out-fides of them 5 and pardy,
to be imbib'd, or funck into the fubftance of them: for Silk, feeming to
be little elfe then a dried thread of Glev, may be fippos'd to be very
eafily relaxtrand foftened, by being fleeped in warm, nay in cold, ifpene-
trant, juyces or liquors. And thereby thofe tinctures, though they tinge
perhaps but a fmall part ofthe fubftance, yet being fo highly impregnated
with the colour, as to be almoft black with it, may leave an impreflion
itrong enough to exhibite the defir'd colour. A pretty kinde of artifi-
cial Stuff I have feen, looking almoft like tranfparent Parchment, Horn,
or Ifing-glafs, and perhaps fome fuch thing it may be made of, which be-
ing tran parent, and of a glutinous nature, and eafily mollified by keep,.
ing in water, as I found upon trial, had imbibd, and did remain ting'd
with a great variety of very vivid colours, and to the naked eye, it look'd
very like the fubftance of the Silk. And 1I have often thought, that pro-
bably there might be a way found out, to make an .artificial glutinous
compofition, much refembling, if not fuill as good, nay better, then that
Excrement,or whatever other lubfitance it be out of'which, the Silk-worm
wire-draws his clew. If fiich a compofition were found, it were certain-
ly an eafie matter to find very quick ways of drawing it out into fmall
wires for ufe. I need not mention the ufe of fuch an Invention,nor the be-
nefit that is likely to accrue to the finderthey being fuficiently obvious.
This hint therefore, may, I hope, give fome Ingenious inquisitive Perfon
an occafion of making fome trials, which if fuccefsfull, I have my aim, and
I fiippofe he will have no occation to be difpleas'd.
Obfirv. xr


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