National Geographic : 1951 Jul
© National Geographic Society 104 Kodachromes by Luis Iarden Work-etched Hands Stretch Silk Glands for Anglers and Doctors Silk sacs, seemingly so fragile, possess an amazing tensile strength in the finished form. Gut strands range in length from 8 to 18 inches; they must be soaked for pliability. Nylon, gut's artificial rival, comes in continuous lengths and is naturally flexible. This countrywoman, who works with silk only in the spring, knows by long experience the exact pull which will stretch the filament to the utmost without breaking. Opposite page: close-ups show opening of the worm, removal and washing of the sacs, and stretching of the two glands. Stained hands reflect the farmwife's work with the vinegar solution used to toughen silk sacs.