How Much Silk is Needed to Make a Necktie?

As part of our weekly Facebook contest, we asked our fans to guess on the amount of silk thread needed to make a single necktie. The guesses were all over the board ranging from just 3 feet to as much as few billion feet. One guess even used scientific notation – which most certainly was a joke. The winner of this contest, Janie Grisham, guessed 259,000 feet which was quite close to the actual number.
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How Silk Ties Are Made:
Not much has changed in the production of silk ever since it was discovered over 5,000 years ago. Today, silk worms are raised in the billions. After eating piles of Mulberry leaves, the worms roll themselves into a cocoon. Farmworkers then separate the worms from the cocoons, which are then steamed and un-spun, before they are bleached and dyed. The average worm produces about 1,500 – 2,500 feet of silk thread, and a single tie requires about 120 to 130 cocoons. This translates to about 180,000 – 325,000 feet of silk thread needed to make a single necktie. Now that is a ton of silky poo.

silk-wormPicture of a silk worm on top of its favorite (and only) food: the Mulberry leaf. After eating a few hundred of these leaves the worm will roll itself into a cocoon (see below).

silk coocoon in handHand holding a silk worm cocoon. Quite amazing that this little creature produces about 1,500 to 2,500 feet of silk thread.

Other Suggested Reading:
The History of Ties

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