Making a silk purse from a sow’s ear

Back in 1921, the chemist Arthur D. Little took it upon himself to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Or rather, he figured out a way to produce a silk-like thread out of sows' ears and wove a purse from this.

Actually, he made two purses. The Smithsonian has one of them. MIT now has the other. (Little was an MIT grad).

The picture of the purse (below) looks nothing like the illustration of it. I wonder what happened. Did the dye fade, or something?

More info: MIT Museum, MIT Library

Pittsburgh Press - Dec 28, 1975

     Posted By: Alex - Sun Aug 19, 2018
     Category: Animals | Science | 1920s

I understand that the research done into making these "silk" purses helped, later on, in developing artificial fibers, like rayon and nylon.

On one anniversary of this achievement, scientists at his company beat lead into this sheets, resembling gold leaf except it was lead leaf, formed them into balloons, and filled them with helium -- and they floated away. So you can make a lead balloon!

Nothing about submarines with screen door, or even skiing through revolving doors.
Posted by Joshua Zev Levin, Ph.D. on 09/04/18 at 12:17 PM
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